A local residents group insists its concerns over a proposed development in Thornhill has nothing to do with religion.
The Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto, which owns the Jaffari Community Centre located near Bathurst St and Hwy 7, wants to build two highrise condos and 61 townhomes on about 30 acres of land. The units would be sold to Muslims.
Rom Koubi with Preserve Thornhill Woods says the neighbours' concerns have nothing to do with demographics or religion.
"If any other developer would have proposed the same application, we would have objected it the same way," he says.
He and other local residents are worried about overcrowding and parking. Residents are also worried that the subsidized units would lower neighbouring property values.
More than 3,500 people have signed an online petition fighting the proposal, which is still in the early stages.
Representatives of ISIJ, meanwhile, are defending the development.
"This project is very important to us because it is a realization of a long-awaited dream and the vision of the members of the community, many of whom initially participated in the purchase of this property some twenty years ago" Shabbir Jeraj, president of the ISIJ, says in a statement.
The statement says the development would "contribute directly to the local economy by creating jobs and incomes to the surrounding community."
Jeraj adds that many parts of the development would be open to all residents, including the playing fields and tennis courts.
A public meeting is being held today where residents can voice their concerns and get more information.