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Location of a Community Church causes concerns

posted Dec 14, 2015, 9:48 AM by Kathy Carr
The issue of locating a community church a half-mile north of the TransCanada Highway at PR 464 continued to generate interest in the North Cypress-Langford Council Chambers at their last meeting of the year. Council met on Tuesday, December 8, with Reeve Adriaansen officiating.
Two hearings were held in regards to this proposal made by the German-speaking church community in the area. This proposal has been before council for a number of months. The first hearing was for a conditional use, to allow the placement of the church on the site, and then a variation hearing to vary the agricultural parcel of the residue from 80 to 60.5 acres.
Planner McEntee gave an overview of the project: A subdivision will take 10 acres off the agricultural parcel. A 10,000 sq. ft. building that contains worship area, hall, kitchen, and classrooms. There will also be a parking lot. A church is a conditional use on agricultural property, and thus the need for a hearing. Traditionally, there have been churches erected in agricultural districts since the area was settled.
Mr. Rutz gave more information. They chose this site, which is central between Brandon, Carberry and Shilo where their membership is. There will be no residential suite on the ten acres. Presently there is no farming being done on the parcel.
The church could be active almost every day for a couple of hours, between singing practice, Sunday school, Bible classes, and church services. Normal attendance would be about 150 persons (many of which are children), while on special occasions, such as funerals and weddings, it could be double that amount.
Wayne Becker spoke against this proposal. He disliked the area of taking ten acres out of agricultural use, for a church.
Lori and Leo Zwarich questioned why the church could not be built on other property owned by congregants, already in a rural residential area. They disliked subdivisions on agricultural property, unless it is already an established yardsite. They asked again whether a school was in the plans (No). 
They questioned the size of the development. They felt that 10,000 sq. feet was excessive.
Mr. G. Prudnikov, who owns the property in question, questioned why a church could be put in the next municipality (Cornwallis) with no hearings. He also pointed out that Hutterite colonies have larger churches on them. He also felt that dust would not be a huge issue, because traffic has already slowed to come off the TransCanada.
Rutz responded to the question as to why this particular property was being developed. His answer, “This was the only one offered.”
By a narrow margin, Council approved the request to locate a church on pt of SW 10-11-16, with these two conditions: that the main building be located at least 200 feet from the road, and that trees be planted on the east, north and south sides.
The second hearing, regarding the parcel size of the residual agricultural property (originally it was 70.5 acres; now it will be 60.5 acres) also passed by the same narrow margin.

by Gloria Mott