Hawke's Bay's Sikh community is elated after a Hastings District Council backflip granted them a resource consent to build a temple on plains production land on the outskirts of the city.
HDC on Tuesday granted the consent, subject to conditions, to build what is known as a gurudwara at 28 Richmond Rd, Tomoana.
It comes just over three months after the New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) objected to the council's decision to refuse the resource consent.
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Sikh Society spokesman Jagjiwan Singh said the Hawke's Bay community had grown in the past few years to close to 2000 people and a bigger gurudwara was necessary.
Jagjiwan said he was among the first Sikhs in the region in 1989, when a gurudwara was set up on the corner of Hastings and Eastbourne St.
"We have been waiting to build a new temple for so long," Jagjiwan said.
"We started this process in 2010 and we are very grateful."
Jagjiwan said the new gurudwara would be more than just a place of worship.
"It will be a place to offer our families help to get better opportunities in the community and a place to bring up our families as well.
"Living close to a gurudwara and helping the community is in our blood."
In evidence given to the hearing committee on July 29 about the need for a bigger gurudwara, Sikh community member Jasmeet Singh talked about his experience in Hawke's Bay since moving to Napier in 2009.
"At the time we were the only Sikh family in Napier," he told the hearings committee meeting.
"When we came here, I felt pressure to change because I was treated differently because I was a Sikh, wore a turban and looked different to others.
"I was 10 or 11 at the time. I spoke to my parents and to the priest at the temple and they encouraged me to embrace my faith and my culture.
"Now there is a larger Sikh community here in Hawke's Bay and some of them may be having similar experiences.
"I believe that a new purpose-built facility may be more attractive to those young people, and my hope is that they will go there to get the same help and support I received 10 years ago."
The society is now working on procuring a building consent and once they do, they will begin building in earnest, Jagjiwan said.
"The legal requirements are sorted now and we have given the council everything they have asked for.
"We really appreciate the committee granting us the consent, and we have to get a building consent now."
The society has chosen local design team Absolute Architecture Ltd at Architectural Designers to design and build it.
The consent includes permission for a building for a place of assembly, including a library building, a residential dwelling, and associated earthworks.
The decision was subject to a number of conditions including: the construction of a vehicle crossing, and a new pedestrian footpath along the western side of Richmond Rd including a pedestrian crossing to connect with existing footpath in Tomoana Rd.
In the decision Councillor George Lyon said while the proposal was not consistent with key objectives and policies around the use of Plains Production Zone, the committee was satisfied, by a narrow margin that it was not contrary to the district plan.
Lyons also stated that the application was consistent with the Resource Management Act and provided for the social and cultural wellbeing of the community.