NEW MASJID UPDATE – Nov 2017
Assalam-o-Alaikum Aa Rehmatullah-e-Wabarakatuhu
Dear Member of Good Standing,
The IAOS Board has felt that there is a need to reach out to you to provide an update on the new Masjid Site at 525 12th Avenue, Regina as the last update was presented more than a month ago at the Annual General Body meeting. Also, lately, as there have been some false rumors among the community members, which need to be refuted. The following is a background as well as an update.
- The IAOS Board has developed the following criteria to evaluate potential properties for the new IAOS Masjid
a) Cost – the new Masjid site should be affordable;
b) Ease of access for worshippers – the site should be near or on the main road and not be difficult to reach;
c) Size of property – Large enough to accommodate ample parking and desired square footage;
d) City of Regina jurisdiction so that we do not have the same situation as the RM of Sherwood site;
e) Location within city, e., east side to effectively divide the traffic between new Masjid and current Masjid on Montague street;
f) Seller’s willingness to give us the time of six months for rezoning approval before the transfer takes place – to avoid buying the property without municipal approval and to avoid the situation IAOS found itself in, in case of RM of Sherwood site.
It is because of this criterion that the list of potential sites suitable for our purpose is extremely small.
- IAOS offered to buy a property located at 525 12th Avenue Regina for the purpose of development of the New Masjid and Community Centre, for a purchase price of $1,770,000 in May 2017, after the rejection of the application to build at our site, in the RM of Sherwood (Highway 33 / Arcola Avenue property). The Site on 12th Avenue meets all of the criteria mentioned above, is ideally located, offers ease of access and also has a building that can be easily converted to a Mosque, immediately. As per the Agreement to purchase signed by the seller, the possession of the Site will be handed to IAOS on March 31, 2018.
The members of IAOS approved the purchase of the Site during an Extra-ordinary General Body Meeting held in May 2017, for this purpose.
- There are two main Buyer conditions in the Offer to Purchase: Approval of rezoning by the City of Regina and Environmental Assessment of the Site. If any of these conditions are not met, we can decline the deal with no financial implications.
- As you are aware, IAOS has applied and secured approval of rezoning by the City of Regina, on September 26, 2017.
- IAOS conducted Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments of the Site, as part of its due diligence.
- During Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment, it was found that soil in a small area of the Site close to the front of the property was contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons, almost 20 years ago. The Seller had provided IAOS with two Phase 1 Environmental assessment reports before the offer to purchase was signed. The first assessment was conducted in 2004 and the second in 2013, both of which found no Environmental issues at the Site.
- IAOS has approached the seller with the finding. The seller has indicated no prior knowledge of contamination. The seller has engaged a large international engineering firm to conduct delineation ( the process of identifying the boundary of the area of contamination), at a significant cost. This is the first step for any solution. The report will be prepared by the engineering firm during the second half of next month (December 2017) and will be shared with IAOS.
- The seller will then approach the Ministry of Environment to get approval for a solution under the Environmental regulations of the Province of Saskatchewan. We will work with the Seller to ensure that the solution meets IAOS needs. It is understood that the Ministry will take two to three months to decide on the solution submitted.
- IAOS Board assures you that no decision will be made that is detrimental to the interests of IAOS.
- IAOS has been fundraising for the New Masjid project and over the last four months has collected more than $760,000. Including the funds that were collected during previous years, IAOS has approximately $1,660,000 in the new Mosque fund, as of today.
- IAOS Board has no intention of selling any of its properties, the two houses that it owns or the Highway 33 / Arcola Avenue land to buy the property at 525, 12th Avenue Regina. Insha-Allah IAOS will be able to soon collect remaining funds with the help of generous community members, like you.
We encourage all of you to reach out to the IAOS Board if you need any clarification especially if you hear anything contrary to the above information. Jazak Allah Khair.