Kitchener councillors have deferred on deciding whether or not to allow the Islamic Humanitarian Service to re-zone an industrial site to become a worship property.

Located at 60 Washburn Drive, current zoning would allow the owners, Islamic Youth Action Centre (IYAC), to use 25% of the property for worship. The IYAC is requesting 100% of the property be used for worship.

A delegation from the IYAC will be coming forward Monday, September 17th, to state their case.

Mayor Carl Zehr commented at the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee meeting Monday night that Kitchener must preserve its employment lands. “To start to change that one piece at a time, you do begin to set precedence, and then you start to erode the principals under which the lands had been set aside for in the first place.”
said Zehr.

On the other side of the coin, Councillor Yvonne Fernandes pointed to a number of close-by schools and churches.

“To me, to turn this down when they’ve invested the money … money for a religious institution is hard won. It takes an awful lot of fundraising, and a lot of effort,” Fernandes said. “Sometimes we need to take a look at the situation that this is in. I don’t know how they will proceed. I would have concerns from a compassionate position.”