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By LACHLAN MOORHEAD

A GROUP of Buddhists will use and develop a new temple in Narre Warren North after their permit application was approved by council last week.
Tuan Buddhist Monastery Incorporated, which already uses facilities in Nunawading and Sunshine, will develop a place of assembly at a new site at 26 Jacques Road after its permit application was granted following a planning committee meeting at the City of Casey last Tuesday.
The 5648 square metre site, which already contains a dwelling at its centre and another large shed at its rear, will be used for the group’s weekly services as well as holding three major Buddhist ceremonies throughout the year – Buddha’s Birthday, New Year’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Secretary of the Tuan Buddhist Monastery Lauren Vo was delighted the permit application was approved and said the group was excited to expand into Narre Warren.
“There’s a lot of Buddhists in the West already but not as many in the South East and around Narre Warren. We wanted to be involved in the area,” Ms Vo said.
“We wanted to try something challenging.”
Services on the site will be held on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 3pm and the maximum number of patrons expected to attend the site at any one time is 30.
The existing buildings on the site already include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, study, laundry and living and dining rooms as well as other amenities.
The permit application was opposed by Councillors Sam Aziz and Rosalie Crestani after concerns that a Buddhist temple would impact on the amenity of residential properties in the area through problems with traffic and car parking.
Cr Crestani, whose Four Oaks ward includes this site, said a Buddhist temple would also expose the low-density residential area in Narre Warren North to exacerbated noise levels, and expected the number of patrons to eventually exceed 30.
“I understand the temple will be servicing a small number of people but I can see that growing further over time,” she said.
“Like any place of worship it has the potential to grow and it can impact on the area so much more.”
Councillor Rafal Kaplon, who shares the Four Oaks ward with Cr Crestani, approved of the permit application because no extra requirements needed to be built on the site apart from additional toilets.
“I’m fully supportive of the permit application and hope this will satisfy the needs of local Buddhists,” he said.

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