Loading articles...

Community group in Waterloo hires lawyer to appeal controversial prayer centre re-zoning

Last Updated Oct 31, 2017 at 6:41 pm EDT

The Waterloo West Community Association has raised over $35,000 to appeal a unanimous decision made by city council in Waterloo that saw a property on Erbsville Road re-zoned and given the go ahead to become a location for a Muslim prayer centre.

The group will appeal the council decision that was made in June to the Ontario Municipal Board. Their appeal was filed to the OMB on September 5th, 2017.

The property in the Laurelwood area, located at 510 Erbsville Road, was switched from an ‘Agricultural’ to an ‘Institutional’ zone.

In a public Facebook post on the group’s page called “Residents Opposing 510 Erbsville Rd. Rezoning”, the group says it has hired an experienced team of lawyers who specialize in OMB cases. The post goes on to ask for more monetary donations and support to help cover future legal costs.

On the Mike Farwell Show, Ward 2 Councillor Brian Bourke says the WWCA shouldn’t be considered a real community group. “I stress this a lot, that the Waterloo West Community Association is not like any other community association we have here in Waterloo. From what I understand, this association was formed purely in response to opposing this re-zoning change and prayer centre.”

Bourke adds that the city will also have a team of lawyers ready to appear at the OMB pre-hearing slated for January 25th, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at Waterloo City Centre on Regina Street.

Meantime, the Muslim Association of Canada is calling the appeal a disappointment.

The MAC owns the property at 510 Erbsville Road.

Waterloo Chapter Head Asif Manzoor tells 570 NEWS that they were informed of the possibility of an OMB hearing shortly after the unanimous decision was made in June. “This is a step that although we planned for, we do not believe should happen. There have been constant studies, hearings, meetings, and a unanimous decision, and now it’s come to this. Everyone has a right to appeal. However, I would be lying if I said this isn’t disappointing.”

MAC will also be present with their lawyers at the pre-hearing on January 25th.

570 NEWS has reached out to the Waterloo West Community Association for comment on their appeal with the OMB, but they’ve denied are request multiple times.