Hawzah News Agency (Ontario, Canada) -Brampton council voted unanimously this week to return $90,000 to a local mosque after the city failed to put traffic signals at the entrance to the Makki Masjid — 19 years after the place of worship paid for installation of the lights.
The mosque, at 8450 Torbram Rd., approached the city in 2000 to install traffic lights for safety reasons and to ease congestion, paying $90,000 for the approved work. Former mayor Susan Fennell was in the first year of her first term at the time, and there have been five different councils since.
“They said they were going to install the lights right away, and that was almost 20 years ago,” said Makki Masjid’s director of communications, Mohammad Aslam Kalair.
“We met with everyone over the years.”
The traffic issues dating back to the mosque’s construction have since been addressed through other mitigation measures, and the lights are no longer required.
City staff said the 19-year delay was due to plans to widen Torbram Rd. that kept being put off as newly elected councils reprioritized infrastructure projects approved by their predecessors. As a result, the lights were never installed.
Councillor Pat Fortini (Wards 7 and 8), who assumed office in 2014, tabled the motion to return the funds. He said the mosque had approached him and the city several times over the past five years and was given a new timetable each time.
“(Staff) met with me in 2014 and said they were doing it in 2017. They didn’t want to spend money for nothing if they were going to take up the road. In 2017, they said they were waiting for hydro. I tell these guys that and I feel like I’m not doing my job or I’m lying,” he said, adding the latest project date he was told was “maybe 2021.”
Had interest been applied, Fortini said the refund could have been as high as $236,000. However, the city wasn’t able to refund more than twice the original amount, and Islamic tradition precludes adherents from accepting interest payments, anyway.