PLANS for a large ritual bath at a Noranda synagogue have been approved by Bayswater council, with a parking shortfall excused on the basis Orthodox Jews don’t drive on the Shabbat.
Council rules usually require 72 bays for a place of worship the size of Noranda’s synagogue, ensuring worshippers don’t clog up nearby streets.
With two of the synagogue’s bays making way for the bath, it will only have 57 left.
Council planning staff suggested giving the synagogue a bit of grace “as with the tenets of the Jewish religion, Orthodox members do not drive their cars to attend services”.
It’s not unusual for councils to waive similar rules for good reason, but Christians from the car-going Living Faith weren’t so lucky coming up against neighbouring Stirling in August 2017 when it blocked their church for being 170 car bays short.
Margaret Court’s application to expand her Victory Life mega church in Osborne Park was more fruitful following intense lobbying from the huge congregation, with Stirling’s councillors approving a shortfall of 230 parking bays under the gaze of 100 protestants lining the public gallery’s pews in June.
They also waived the “cash-in-lieu” provisions, by which a developer can purchase pardon for a shortfall.
The price per bay is based on how much it’ll instead cost the council to buy land and construct a parking spot. The price varies by precinct in Stirling, but if enforced at an average rate the church might’ve had to render more than $1 million unto council.
by DAVID BELL