A large new church cannot be built in a heavy industrial area in North Red Deer, city council has determined.
On Monday, councillors discussed an application for a new place of worship. Developers wanted to locate the church on land now zoned for heavy industry at 27241 Township Road 391, near Highway 2A and the northern edge of the city.
The application would have required an amendment to the North of Hwy 11A Major Area Structure Plan.
But city administration recommended that council defeat the application as it does not align with present or future land uses in the area.
Council heard the unidentified church group wanted good visibility and access from Highway 2A. The sought-after 1.12 hectares is across the highway from the site of Red Deer’s future addictions treatment centre.
It would also be right next to an industry that operates at all hours and emits noise.
Steel manufacturer Evraz, the large industrial neighbour to the west, did not support allowing a place of worship to develop next door, expressing “serious concerns” about potential conflicts between church uses and its own industrial uses, which are intended to continue “for many years to come.”
Coun. Kraymer Barnstable suggested city council give the application first reading to trigger a public hearing and allow the applicants to make their case. Maybe there’s a good reason this group wants to locate close to the future addictions treatment centre, he suggested.
While Coun. Victor Doerksen and Mayor Ken Johnston joined Barnstable in supporting first reading, it was ultimately defeated by the majority on council.
Coun. Lawrence Lee explained he couldn’t get past the safety concerns outlined by administrators, who noted many other land use districts would be more appropriate for a place of worship.
With noise, traffic and heavy equipment concerns in that industrial area, administrators determined this ”is not the best, safest, most viable land for this use, and I can understand that,” said Lee.