Islamic cultural centre will move to new location
By John Jantak
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
Though the original plans for the former Sunny’s location were to include flags and loudspeakers for call to prayer, the members of the Islamic Cultural Centre will use the facility strictly as a community centre and will travel to a West Island mosque for prayers.
Vaudreuil-Dorion council announced at its session on January 18 that plans are moving forward to relocate the Islamic Cultural Centre in Vaudreuil-Dorion from its present spot in a strip mall on Harwood Blvd to a new larger facility, the former Sunny’s Restaurant on Rue St. Antoine at Rue Chicoine, although prayer services will be prohibited.
“They want to use the building strictly as a community centre,” said Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon. “This is all they want to do for now. There will be no religious services. They can eat their meals, have their school and provide other community services and this is okay. It’s important for them to be able to participate in these activities.”
The original plans for the new community centre which included having a mosque and exterior loudspeakers were quashed when 157 area residents signed a registry in mid-October 2020 that would have required the city to hold a referendum on the issue.
No referendum was held because the Islamic Cultural Centre withdrew their request for a mosque. In September 2020, council passed a resolution that prohibited flags being flown outside the centre and exterior loudspeakers. Pilon said the city and representatives from the cultural centre are happy with the compromise that has been achieved in regards to the use of the facility.
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
An overview of the location the proposed Muslim cemetery (green rectangle) which will be located 350 meters east of Rue St. Antoine and the St. Jean Baptiste Catholic cemetery (red rectangle). The green line at the bottom of the Catholic cemetery indicates a road that will allow people to access the Muslim cemetery.
Muslim cemetery project
The city will move ahead with its plans to build a new Muslim cemetery on non-arable farmland just off of Route de Lotbinière.
For Mayor Pilon, the announcement is a continuation of the process it began in 2019 when it first introduced the project. “It’s the same project. We just have to review the portfolio and update it but we have to redo all the steps and one of the steps is to make sure there is a resolution from the city so we can eventually proceed,” Pilon told The Journal.
Pilon said during recent conversations with representatives from the Communauté métroplitaine de Montréal (CMM) which had originally opposed the cemetery project will now allow it to go ahead. “We spoke with them again and made some representations about the project and they decided not to oppose it next time. They will simply not respond so after 30 or 60 days the project will be accepted,” he said.
The Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges supports the city’s plans and took part in the review process by having representatives from its agricultural committee survey the land to determine its suitability for a cemetery.
“The committee, which includes some farmers, supports the creation of the new cemetery. We toured the land and showed them the location where we want to be built. They supported the initiative because the land is non-arable and it cannot be restored. They clearly understand that it’s non-productive land because it’s on a slope. We’re going to restart the project and sign the letters again. This is good news,” said Pilon.
Plans for a Muslim cemetery sparked a minor controversy when two residents stated their opposition to the project when it was first introduced at council on January 21, 2019.