Temple concerns

Pearcedale residents are concerned about the impact the temple will have on their rural lifestyle. Picture: SUPPLIED

Emily Chapman Laing

Pearcedale locals have raised objections to a $4.5 million temple proposed for the area.

Melbourne Ayyappa Seva Sangam (MASS) has submitted plans for a traditional Sree Ayyappa Temple at 1915 Dandenong-Hasting Road, Pearcedale.

Local residents are concerned about the impact the temple will have on their quiet rural lifestyle.

The project is set to include a golden staircase, landscaped gardens and a large ornamental pool over a 10-acre property.

The rooftop height of the main temple will be 8 metres and the flagstaff in the yard will be 13.5 metres tall.

The temple proposes to hold weekly services between 7am and 10am and 5pm to 8pm Monday to Sunday.

Twenty-four-hour use of the temple would be available up to two times a year.

Indoor bell ringing (Pooja) is proposed to occur at approximately 8.30am and 5pm daily, except on Sundays and public holidays where in the morning this would only occur after 9am.

The outdoor bells are proposed to ring at 11am and 7pm daily.

The land is currently natural bushland inhabited by wildlife.

Devotees of the temple would visit monthly, with an estimated 10,000 people to attend religious festivals at the site.

MASS has said the aim of the temple is “to fulfil the community needs of understanding the rich Hindu religious heritage, traditions, philosophy and culture”.

The temple will also serve to provide community activities for worshippers of all ages.

Estimates from 2021 show Pearcedale has a population of 3749.

Objections to the project were due in by Tuesday 21 March.

Residents were rallying on Facebook to get as many objections in as possible by the due date.

The most common issue flagged by locals was noise.

Residents fear religious festivals and ceremonies may cause noise pollution that will disrupt the rural essence of their community.

Local woman Yvonne Millett has voiced concerns about fireworks as part of religious celebrations.

“As a horse and dog owner I am very concerned about this possibility,” she said.

Yvonne isn’t the only one concerned about noise.

Others also questioned the noise factor of festival days.

“I live on 10 acres about 2km away and our horses will go nuts with fireworks and noise pollution from loud speakers,” a local posted.

Locals are worried about the environmental impact the large-scale building will have on the green wedge area.

“The temple is a major concern in our green wedge zone,” Louise Cook said.

“A temple is totally out of place and will have a hugely negative impact on the environment.”

A Facebook post by a green wedge advocate also outlined the environmental impacts of the project and said it is vital to preserve these areas for their agricultural, environmental, historical, recreational and landscape value.

“Once lost, they can never be replaced.”

Road safety is also an issue, residents say.

Locals fear the already unstable roads surrounding the site will be unable to cope with the extra traffic.

MASS bought the land in 2019 and submitted the planning application to the Mornington Peninsula Shire on 23 December, 2021.

MASS secretary Dr Vijay anand Senguttuvan previously told the Herald Sun that he is unable to comment on the project while it remains before the council.