Serve justice to our church community needs

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To the honourable Premier Gladys Berejiklian, M.P.,

The community of St Mary & St Merkorious Coptic Orthodox Church in Rhodes, NSW strongly object to the current 3rd Draft of the "Rhodes Precinct Place Strategy", released in August 2020 by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE).

As a Church Community Service and place of worship that has contributed extensively to the Rhodes community for over 33 years, providing significant social infrastructure, the DPIE has not taken into consideration the church community needs that were submitted by the church in 2017 and 2018/2019. The current DPIE 3rd Draft Plan places the church in a low capacity zone, while allowing for high-rise apartment blocks to be built surrounding the church grounds.

The church community needs and proposals include providing Affordable housing, Senior citizens services, Medical services, Community facilities, Theological and Spiritual facilites, Youth service facilities, Charity Education and Coaching programs and parking.

Over 33 years, our Rhodes church community has grown from just 30 families to over 800 families. This growth is projected to continue well into the future. The current DPIE 3rd Draft Plan poses serious negative implications on the church's ability to continue its current services and to expand its future services not only to the Coptic community, but to the wider local community.

We therefore request that the NSW DPIE reconsider the needs to the existing church community and all previous submissions made to the DPIE.