Muslim Wire

`No place for school’

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 21, 2009

AUSTRAL residents say their suburb isn’t ready for a Muslim school approved last week by the Land and Environment Court.

In February, Liverpool Council rejected the application for the Islamic Qaadiri College.

The applicant, Ashraf Ali, went to the Land and Environment Court, which approved the application with a few modifications for a school at 83-87 Gurner Avenue.

Resident Frank Patulla said it was not the right area for a school. It is too rural, he said, and its poor-quality roads (“too narrow for buses too”) could not accommodate all of the traffic expected to come to the area.

“The only reason they’ve chosen this site is because the land is cheap,” Mr Patulla said.

A Liverpool Council spokeswoman said the modifications responded to the evidence given by the objectors and the respective town planners during the four-day hearing.

John Petropoulis of the Hellenic Association, the Greek group that owns a land block behind the school site, said the decision was disappointing.

“This area doesn’t have sewerage, water pressure, footpaths or street lighting,” Mr Petropoulis said. “It has only rural-standard roads that won’t be adequate for the traffic to be created by the school. This development is completely inappropriate to the area.”

The council voted not to fight the case in court, but sent a solicitor to present both sides of the case, as they were presented to the council.

Mr Petropoulis said he was disappointed to see the council solicitor sitting with the school’s representative and felt that he presented more arguments in favour of the school. He criticised the council decision not to represent the views of its ratepayers.

Council general manager Phil Tolhurst said fencing was one of several modifications required by the Land and Environment Court.

He said the school would make upgrades to the part of Gurner Avenue near its front entrance, but that the council would not do any extra maintenance work on nearby roads.

“The roads will be maintained in keeping with the usual schedule,” Mr Tolhurst said.

“Traffic in the area won’t be a problem straight away.

“It will be built in stages and will build up to its full capacity over a number of years.”

Mr Ali, the applicant, did not respond to requests from the Champion for comment.

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