Subject to planning approval, the society will replace the existing property with a 299-square metre mosque. Other works proposed include replacing see-through fencing and gates on Wagga Road and relocating an existing shed on the property. The redevelopment will cost around $318,000.
The development application describes the proposed mosque as a "community facility" and will service the 400-plus Muslims who live in Albury-Wodonga. The 1185 square metre site is zoned general residential under the Albury local environmental plan, but a "place of worship" is permitted with council consent. Prayer sessions are held daily between 7.30am and 9pm.
Parking is contained within the property and there is minimal noise generated from the site. The biggest number of people on site is about 50 around noon on Fridays. The majority of Muslims living in Albury-Wodonga come from Sydney or Melbourne.
They are participating in the immigration visa scheme whereby they have to live in a regional area for two years and work for one before they can obtain permanent residency. Some opt to return to the bigger cities once they have permanent residency but a growing number are deciding to stay locally which has driven the demand for a larger place of worship. The original application for the Wagga Road place of worship was approved by council staff in early 2013 under delegated authority.
The society has made many attempts to have an "open door" policy to the wider public to breakdown misconceptions about its beliefs.
Current premises of the Islamic Centre of Albury-Wodonga
Source: The Border Mail
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