Residents will get to have their say on the proposed development of Penrith’s first Islamic School, with Council confirming it will host a public forum.
Raising the matter during general business at Monday night’s Council meeting, Councillor Marcus Cornish said it was “imperative” that Council hold a community meeting to “stem any nastiness”.
“This will be a huge issue,” he said.
“The public should be brought into this.”
Cr Cornish said it needed to happen sooner rather than later and at a time and place suitable to the general public.
He also requested that the end-of-April deadline for written submissions be extended another month, noting the Easter break.
The contentious development application (DA), which was submitted to Council on March 1, proposes a primary and secondary school at the former Penrith Public School site on Henry Street.
Mayor John Thain said regardless of where and when the forum was held, one thing needed to be made “clear”: only residents of the Penrith Local Government Area would be allowed to attend.
He said this was important to avoid “repeated scenes” from two years ago, when warring parties faced off over the development of a mosque at Kemps Creek, which Penrith City Council ultimately approved.
Executive Manager Environment and City Development, Wayne Mitchell, confirmed public consultation would take place, as was normal practice with DAs of public interest, and that his department had requested additional information required to fully determine the application.
A Council spokesman confirmed the exhibition period has been extended until the end of May. A time for the public meeting has yet to be confirmed.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Court Reporter