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Proposed Baldivis Hindu temple application given the go-ahead

Tyra PetersSound Telegraph
An artist's impression of the proposed Hindu temple in Baldivis.
Camera IconAn artist's impression of the proposed Hindu temple in Baldivis. Credit: Hayley Edwards/Facebook

Long-held plans for a Hindu Temple in Baldivis have finally been approved by the State Government’s Joint Development Assessment Panel after several knock-backs from Rockingham Council and the panel.

The development application for a proposed Place of Worship at Lot 53 (no. 67) Folly Road Baldivis was initially put before Rockingham Council for the first time in 2021.

The applicant made attempts to address community concerns outlined by councillors and residents after the application was rejected by the city and JDAP on two occasions.

Following last Thursday’s JDAP meeting, the panel voted in favour of an alternate recommendation with conditions.

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Recommendations include limitations to the hours of operation, that the applicant must keep a record of complaints and respond to every complaint received within a three-day period, and all vehicles are required to access the site from Folly Road except in event of emergency, in which case they may egress the site from Young Road.

Rockingham mayor Deb Hamblin said the city “respects the decision made by the Development Assessment Panel but maintains the strong view that a proposal of this nature has the potential to create a level of activity that could not be reasonably expected in a rural location”.

“The city acknowledges that the size of the proposal was reduced from what was considered previously, but in our opinion, it does not go far enough to protect the amenity of the adjacent rural property owners,” Ms Hamblin said.

Gorki Bogdanich, from Archetype Design Studio, the temple’s applicant, said that there has been a sense of relief and renewed confidence in the planning system following the application’s approval.

Mr Bogdanich said that having axed the proposed multi-purpose hall and a lot of the wedding functions on the site, which was a significant sacrifice on the part of the Lord Balaji community, he and his team were confident that the proposal had comprehensively addressed the key concerns of the JDAP.

“The next steps will be to further develop and finalise the Landscape Plan, so that we can commence the rehabilitation of the land and installation of sensitive landscaping on the site,” he said.

“Thereafter, we will commence detailed design of the main buildings and progress to Building Permit Applications.”

Mr Bogdanich said that during this process, there was a general community misunderstanding of the Hindu faith, its practices, and its followers.

“The followers of Lord Balaji follow guiding principles, which include respecting all beings and serving all beings as service to God,” he said.

“The Lord Balaji community are known for their efforts at maintaining the environment, undertaking community service projects and emphasis on teaching of values. Their faith is peaceful and involves quiet prayer and devotion.

“Sometimes fear of the unknown can cause unwarranted concern, and the Lord Balaji community assures people living in this semi-rural community that they will work diligently to improve the environment and amenity of the rural area, without causing disruptions to the rural lifestyles and will endeavour to form close, long-term friendships with the Baldivis community and neighbours in particular.”

Archetype Design Studio will now move forward with landscaping plans for the temple.

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