The walls are finally starting to rise on the Guelph Sikh Temple in south end Guelph.
After numerous delays - including a threatened challenge to the Ontario Municipal Board that was abandoned – the building is beginning to go up.
Dr. Ravi Rai, the spokesperson for the Guelph Sikh Society, said everything is in place to have the stately white structure completed by September of this year.
The society has raised millions towards the project, including about $300,000 recently, and about $2 million previously to pay for the valuable piece of land at 410 Clair Road.
At the time of the purchase some five years ago, the property was a single-detached home on a few acres of land, surrounded by open fields and encroaching residential development. Now it is completely walled in on three sides with new homes and apartment buildings.
Back in 2010, not long after the new gurdwara project was announced, a group calling itself Westminster Woods Residents Association mounted an OMB challenge against the building, citing concerns about it being situated in a residential neighbourhood and potentially causing parking and traffic disruptions. The challenge reached a preliminary hearing and was dropped.
The building faced numerous delays related to design, planning, and funding. There were also several weather related impediments. It is estimated to cost up to $7 million to complete, and Rai said all financing is in place to complete the building, but extra money is being collected for any additional costs that may arise.
“The foundation work is almost entirely done now, and the pillars and the walls are being constructed,” Rai said. “The back wall is going up this week. The project is exactly on time and moving ahead the way we want it. We are very happy with that.”
The local Sikh society is still reaching out to the community for donations, he added.
“We are trying to prop up everything so that, at the end of the day, we are not short of money,” he added. “But we had people who came forward and everything is in place.”
It is expected that an opening ceremony will take place in the month of September.
There are images of the gurdwara plans at the society’s website, www.guelphsikhsociety.com.