Calgary's Muslim community is continuing its efforts to get a new mosque and community centre built in the city's deep southeast.
The push comes after a city planning committee rejected the bid earlier this month, citing concerns that the area is not set up for development yet. No new buildings have yet been approved in that area but members of the Muslim community say they need a space to accommodate their growing community.
"It has all those activities which we need," said Noman Faridi with the Islamic Centre of South Calgary, the group pushing to build the mosque. "That's really important for us — we want to keep our kids out off the street."
The group purchased 10 acres of land nearly five years ago and have been ready to build ever since.
The land sits beside what is zoned to become a major intersection and many say it is well-situated to become a community fixture once residential development begins.
"Right now, there's a need for a place of worship," said Ald. Shane Keating, who represents Ward 12 where the mosque would be built. "There are many faiths where they have built large places of worship outside of the city and they're utilized constantly."
No area structure plan for deep southeast
Calgary's Muslim community has increased in recent years and currently sits at 80,000.
It only took one month for members to raise the $1.2 million needed to buy the 10 acres of land, but they can't do anything with it until development is approved by the city.
The main issue in building the mosque lies in the fact that the deep southeast does not have an area structure plan because it is currently undeveloped.
An area structure plan lays out how the land will be zoned, used and serviced.
Without it, any proposed development would require ad hoc approval by city council, said Keating.
For the Muslim community, the hope is that they could build the community centre within the next couple of years.
They currently gather for prayers and large events in rented spaces, mainly in Calgary's industrial areas.
The proposal will go to council on September 9.