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Sikh temple planning for October opening

After several delays, the new home for Guelph's Sikh Community appears heading to completion
20180710 Sikh Temple CLair Road KA
The Guelph Sikh temple under construction at 410 Clair Rd. E. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

A spokesman for the Guelph Sikh Society says the long-awaited Sikh temple on Clair Road should be finished in October.

“We’ll definitely be there,” said Dr. Ravi Rai. “We are moving in the last week of October.”

“Inspections were done and we’re completing some things for that right now,” Rai said, then the roof goes on and the interior finishing can be finalized.

“We’ve gone through so many things. We don’t want it delayed any more,” Rai said. “I can’t sleep at night because of this. It’s taken too long for us.”

The temple, or gurdwara, has had a long history of complications and delays at its location at 410 Clair Rd. E.

The land was purchased in 2010 and a neighbourhood group launched an Ontario Municipal Board that was eventually abandoned.

A flag raising took place on the site in 2011 and ground and construction was started in 2015.

In the summer of 2016 Rai told GuelphToday that they would be open in September of that year.

Rai said the total cost of the project has now escalated to close to $10 million.

Much of the fundraising is complete with additional fundraising ongoing.

“We have the money. The money is not an issue,” Rai said.

The delays stem primarily from a problem with the initial contractor, Rai said, and they brought in a new one midway through the project.

“Inspections, then we had to switch the contractors,” Rai said.

The initial contractor was involved in the steel shell of the structure, which meant all the other work had to be delayed until that was sorted out, Rai said.

“Once it’s waterproof with a roof on, the rest of the work will start right away,” he said.

The need for the temple is growing, Rai said, with an estimated 700 families likely to be using the roughly 16,000 square foot temple once built.

It includes a basement and main hall that can be partitioned off into three separate rooms.

Rai said the Guelph Sikh Society continues to use the one-time beer store on Stevenson Street for its services, but has arranged to sell that facility to a Muslim group in town.

“People ask all the time ‘when is it going to be ready?’ I know we are a small community, but a lot of people gave a lot of money so that we could start it and we borrowed some money too.

“I tell them ‘we will definitely be there in October.”