First mosque for Vic city to go ahead
One of Victoria’s largest regional cities will welcome its first mosque despite a legal bid to quash the controversial project.
Council first approved the proposed Bendigo mosque in mid-2014, despite vocal protests and a social media campaign from a group of opponents.
About 11 residents on Thursday lost a bid to overturn the decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
There was no evidence the mosque would cause “any significant social or other effects to the community”, the tribunal said.
A planning permit was granted to the Australian Islamic Mission, with conditions on operating hours, patron numbers and construction requirements.
“Alleged social, economic and environmental impacts have not been demonstrated as being significant or likely with respect to the proposed mosque,” the tribunal found.
Objectors claimed there was no need for the proposed mosque, which would include two prayer rooms, a shop and a community sports hall.
It would cause traffic and social issues, such as the “Islamification of Bendigo” and a drop in house prices, they argued.
One comment on the “stop the mosque in Bendigo” Facebook site feared it would lead to him not being able to cook bacon.
Greater Bendigo City Council mayor Peter Cox welcomed the tribunal’s decision.
“Council acknowledges this matter has been challenging for some members of the community, but the decision has now been made and it is time for all parties to put their differences aside and move forward in a positive and respectful way,” he said in a statement.
The local Muslim community have been using facilities at La Trobe University to worship.