Standing Room Only As Council Considers Sikh Temple Proposal

December 7, 2009

Author: Scott Tracey

Source: Guelph Mercury

The 160-seat public gallery in the new city council chamber was not big enough for a planning meeting Monday night, as councillors considered a rezoning application which would allow a Sikh temple on Clair Road.

The audience was largely men in turbans and women in saris, representatives of Guelph’s growing Sikh population.

Dr. Ravi Rai, vice-president of the Guelph Sikh Society, told councillors the society has outgrown its current home; a former beer store on Stevenson Street South where local Sikhs have held their worship services since 1998. The society has bought a parcel of land on Clair Road East and wants to build a 2 ½-storey, 18,000-square-foot temple.

The proposal has met with opposition from area residents, who have cited concerns related primarily to increased traffic, possible lack of parking, noise and incompatibility with the surrounding residential neighbourhood.