Bid to build $2m place of worship
The West Australian Newspaper
EXCLUSIVE - Kim MacDonald
25 July, 2020 (Page 26)
A religious group that former prime minister Kevin Rudd called an extremist cult is seeking approval to build a $2 million place of worship in the Perth Hills.
Mundaring Gospel Trust, which is a representative of the Exclusive Brethren — also known as the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church — wants to build an 880sqm windowless hall on Seaborne Street in Parkerville.
The Shire of Mundaring's Responsible Authority report has recommended conditional approval but the final decision will be made on Thursday by the Metro Outer Joint Development Assessment Panel.
breaking up families and denying children a modern education
The group made headlines in 2007 when Mr Rudd, then opposition leader, accused the brethren of breaking up families and denying children a modern education.
The group returned to the spotlight in 2013 when it sought to build an 800-seat place of worship on Coppin Road in Parkerville.
That application was rejected by the local shire on the grounds it would breach its proposed new scheme, was inconsistent with its existing plan, and would have a detrimental visual impact.
Under the brethren's current proposal, the building and its 2ha grounds would be surrounded by six cameras and it would include parking for 150 vehicles.
The development application acknowledges the church would receive up to 450 visitors a service and up to 600 on special occasions.
The plans have so far drawn 44 objections and 55 in support , but the Shire noted 18 complaints came from residents who lived within 500m of the proposed building.
Most of the support came from residents who lived more than 1.5km away. The complaints were based mostly on traffic, privacy and parking issues.
Mundaring chief executive Jonathan Throssell said while the Shire of Mundaring's report conditionally approved the structure, there was "both opposition and support for the proposal" .
A community group met last night to consider the impact.
Church member Jerry Siverwight said the group had worked hard to come up with a plan that would satisfy the council and the community.
He said Plymouth Brethren was a conservative Christian group, rejecting claims it was a sect.
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