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Harriston church expansion concerns neighbours

Some concerns neighbours brought up during the meeting are that rain and melted snow will build up on their properties
Crossroads Life Church property and the proposed addition in yellow.

MINTO — On Tuesday, residents voiced their concern before Minto council approved, with conditions, the expansion of the Crossroads Life Church.

The decision was made to allow the small addition of 7.92 metres by 12.19 metres at the back of the church, allowing a space of 4.27 metres between the church building and the property line, with the requirements to have a new fence along part of the church property line, have 11 more parking spaces for the church and that the addition be no more than one storey in height.

The church is at 99 Young St. W., Harriston.

The expansion was officially meant to allow for new washrooms and a service centre to get together after services.

John Finochio, lead pastor at the church, spoke of the nature and need for the building expansion.

“The entire purpose of the expansion is really to allow our children’s wing, although it was presented that the washroom and severely-needed expansion, where we are feeling the press is in our children’s ministry. 

“So we have more kids than we have room. And we’re very delighted to have that problem. But the children are in that, the second floor of our building currently on that corner of the building,” Finochio said.

It was suggested that the church expand in other places on its property instead of squeezing it into the corner that was chosen for the new part of the building.

“And so the only place that makes sense for us to expand, and we would be happy to try to expand elsewhere except it just won’t work anywhere else.

“So to move our second floor out to pretty well double our children’s area that’s really where we’re feeling the pinch,” Finochio said.

A few residents voiced their concerns related to the project.

Brock Shannon, whose property is adjacent to the church where the church intends to build out.

The first problem with the project that Shannon raised was where all the excess water will go, especially in the spring.

“Back a few years ago, the church had addressed the problem of drainage,” Shannon said.

So there is already an a problem with excess water running into neighbours’ yards. Now there is a building going on top of the relevant drain. 

“And with this building that they want to put on, they’d be putting it right over top of that drain.

“Is there considerations for a new drain or something else?

“Because when the snow gets pushed back there and the spring drainage mostly runs back into the neighbours’ yards,” Shannon said.

Shannon’s concern was acknowledged but not resolved.

“So our understanding is that it is a private property and a private drainage concern. 

“That being said, this is something that will be addressed at the building permit stage not necessarily something that you would include at the minor variance stage,” said Ashley Sawyer, planning coordinator.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.