via A not so little Mississauga mosque divides a community | CanIndia NEWS. h/t The Beat Man
Controversy is brewing in Ward 9 where a proposed 20,000 square foot mosque complete with a soaring 88 foot minaret is set to go up by the middle of next year. Last week Mississauga’s Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito held a preliminary consultation with area residents who expressed outrage, fear and apprehension over how this development would impact the area’s demographics, property value, traffic congestion and even light
The proposed site is situated on Winston Churchill Blvd opposite the Meadowvale Town Centre. According to Tahir Qureshi, trustee of the Meadowvale Islamic Centre which owns the property, the City of Mississauga has approved the re-zoning as a place of worship. “Ten years ago we had bought a plot with a house on it, but to have a place of worship, we had to make parking provisions, so two years ago, we bought the adjacent property where we plan to have a 114 car parking lot,” he said.
The plot was earlier zoned as an office complex but was later re-zoned as a place of worship.
Envisaging just the kind of opposition they would encounter once residents got wind of the project, the trustees of MIC hired veteran Glen Broll a partner at Glen Schnarr and Associates Inc, known for their experience as public and private sector planners. They’ve prepared exhaustive reports based on traffic studies and have ensured the project meets building codes and other bylaws. If all goes according to plan, ground will be broken by the middle of next year. According to the bylaw, the application has to be submitted and circulated to all departments to get their technical comments. “We have taken no chances and have prepared 8 reports which will be submitted to Council in February 2014,” says Mr Qureshi.
But judging from the concerns raised by long-time area residents and articulated by Councillor Pat Saito, there will be a few more hurdles to cross. “I share a lot of the concerns of my constituents- this is a busy intersection with the mall situated opposite the mosque. Although there are 114 parking spots, the congregation will grow in the future, where will they park?” said Councillor Saito in an interview with Can-India.
Following last week’s meeting, Councillor Saito received an email from a resident about real estate agents going door-to-door soliciting business and preying on fears about the proposed mosque and the effect it will have on the value of their homes. “Some real estate agents known to profit from fear mongering are telling residents that if they move now they could get a better deal,” she said. If that is the only thing residents are concerned about, Mr Qureshi predicts if anything ‘prices of homes will increase by atleast $50,000 once the construction of the mosque begins.’ He claims to be receiving calls from potential buyers interested in properties in and around the area of Ward 9 and 10. Because such a centre will take care of the spiritual needs of their families as well as give congregants the opportunity to provide social service to the less fortunate. “Residents should be happy that the mosque will increase their property values,” he said.
While that may be welcome news to those with plans on selling anyway in the next few years, it is cold comfort to other long-term residents who’ve lived in the area since the sub-division went up more than 30 years ago and until recently had no plans on moving. “My children grew up here and I like the area because it is convenient, if I sell, where will I go?” said a sixty-plus retiree who lives on a quiet street behind the proposed mosque. He declined to be named for this article.
According to rough estimates there are about 1500 Muslim families in Ward 9 and the area has a perfect demographic mix-White, Black, Latino, South Asian and Asian. Privately many residents have voiced their fear about the mosque tilting the demographics of the area as a predicted exodus of residents take flight and are replaced by residents drawn by the presence of the mosque. “I have told residents that that is not a concern I will deal with, I am more concerned with the impact it will have on other aspects like traffic,” said Ms Saito.
Mr Qureshi points out that Ward 9 has approximately 35 churches belonging to different Christian denominations but not a single mosque. “We are renting the St.Francis of Assisi Anglican Church for our Friday prayers. The closest is the Masjid Al-Farooq at Eglinton and Mavis road which is quite far away. We need a centre to run programs for our community. These meetings are all politically motivated and the objections have no merit if the application is in accordance with the bylaws,” he says.
If Council disapproves, Mr Qureshi says MIC will approach the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) which can overrule the decision of the Council if our application is in compliance with codes. “We have spent thousands of dollars to get these studies done and the city needs to have a good reason to ignore bylaws. We want to live in harmony with the community. If they were presented all the studies they would not have been raising these objections,” says Mr Qureshi.
Meanwhile whether or not the mosque wins the vote of approval many area residents are planning on voting with their feet.
Filed under: Canada, Creeping Sharia, Immigration, Legal, Media, Mosque, News, Politics, Religion, Sharia, Zoning Jihad | Tagged: Creeping Sharia, islam, Life, Media, Muslim, News, Random, Religion, Sharia | 7 Comments »