Two arson attacks on Toowoomba Mosque in early 2015, one year after its inception, caused serious damage to the Mosque building. Since then, with the support from Muslims across Australia, especially with those in the greater Brisbane area and Gold Coast, the determination and resilience of Muslims in Toowoomba to rebuild the only Mosque in the city and region have been always undeterred.
After going through the pain stricken and unknown journey of settling with insurance claim/assessment for more than one year, the Islamic Society of Toowoomba worked with the surveyor, acoustic assessor, architect, town planner, structural and traffic engineer another six months to prepare the paperwork for the development application to extend the burned building to make it a proper Mosque with all facilities under one roof.
In late 2016, on receiving conditional approval of the proposed extension from the Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC), the Society had to appeal against two unacceptable conditions – limiting operational hours from 6am-9pm and number of worshippers to 150 in Fridays and 50 on other five times prayers. In two different DAP meetings of the Council our appeals were successful and those conditions were removed in 2017.
The approval required the Mosque to have 42 sealed car parking spaces, 18 of those were on the same level as the Mosque building blocking all grassland on the block leaving no breakup or green areas. To attend this problem, the Society purchased another neighbouring property to fit in the required number of car parking spaces in 2017.
Later in 2017, on getting operational work permit (another approval of detailed drawings) from the Council we started looking for builders to start the construction work. It was not until July 2018, we received a proper and detailed quotation from a Gold Cost based builder. This quote was only to complete the lock up stage of the building project at a cost of nearly $700,000.
Part of the condition of the contract was to provide evidence of guaranteed finance for the completion of the whole contracted job before signing the contract. Due to lack of enough available fundraising at this stage, in August 2018, we had to borrow $400,000 from MCCA Income Fund with personal Guarantee from two key members of the community to finalise the contract before starting the work.
The work for the lock-up stage of the project started in October 2018 and has been completed in April 2019. In the meantime, we have received approval of our modified revised development application (mainly to move 18 car park from Mosque’s front yard to the new property) from TRC that will make the traffic management much safer.
On completion of the project, 500 Muslims, including 100 women at the mezzanine level, will be able to pray in the Mosque at any time. To get Occupation Certificate from the Council we still need to complete the following tasks:
Electrical fittings, Toilet fittings, Air-conditioning, Sound system, Plaster and paint, Fencing and gates Carpeting, Car-parking with two driveways, Retaining wall and earthwork, Acoustic walls, Camera and Security system, Landscaping, Rainwater tank, Disable access, Infrastructure fee to Council, surveying and amalgamation charges etc.
To cover the rebuilding cost of the Mosque, Muslims in Toowoomba have organized successful fundraising dinners in Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast and Toowoomba along with collections from many Mosques in Brisbane, Darwin, Sydney, New Castle and Wollongong on Fridays.
We still need around $350,000 to complete the above unfinished tasks of the project as per the revised plan (with some added cost).
Please donate at Bank Account: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Toowoomba Plaza Branch, A/C Name: Toowoomba Islamic Charitable Organisation, BSB: 064459 A/C Number: 1034 1586. Swift Code: CTBAAU25XXX.