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Radha Soami Satsang Beas Wins 5-Year-Old Court Battle To Build Spiritual And Meditation Centre Centre In Australia

Darpan News Desk IANS, 16 May, 2019

    An India-based sect has won the right to build a spiritual and meditation centre in Swan Valley in Western Australia, ending a five-year legal battle with the local council that banned the construction of places of worship in the rural area.


    The State Administration Tribunal passed the order last week allowing the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), Australia, to construct a spiritual and meditation centre, The West Australian reported on Thursday.


    RSSB’s lawyer Tim Houweling said his clients were overwhelmed and excited that their fight to build the centre had come to an end.
    “There seems to be an unwarranted fear in our community of the establishment of places of worship,” he said, adding, “I can assure surrounding residents that the RSSB will be great neighbours.”


    “It is not clear to me why places of worship are being singled out in planning, and treated differently from other uses that have greater impact,” he said.


    Houweling clarified that the tribunal after hearing the evidence had made clear that there is no impact on horticulture or agriculture activity in the Swan Valley Rural zone.


    Earlier, the City of Swan voted to change its planning scheme not to allow any more places of worship, including churches, mosques and temples, to be built in the rural, winery region, in order to preserve the agricultural character of the area.


    However, the RSSB Australia argued it had met all planning requirements and took its fight to the court.


    The Tribunal said the centre would be low impact and would not cause any adverse impact on the traditional agricultural activities in the area.


    Council chief executive Mike Foley said the city would not appeal against the decision of the Tribunal.


    “The decision [to refuse the application] was formed on the basis that the application was not for a traditional activity and was not consistent with the rural character of the locality,” he said.


    “The city accepts the Tribunal’s decision and will continue to work with the RSSB to ensure the final development is in keeping with the character of the Swan Valley,” he said

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