Local Sikh worshippers are a step closer to having a site for their own temple.
Red Deer County council approved second reading of an area structure plan for the temple site, which is just south of Slack Slough on the east side of Hwy 2 near Gasoline Alley.
Bob Mills, a former Red Deer MP and county resident for 46 years, spoke against the project on behalf of some area residents.
Mills said the environmentally significant area around the slough is not suitable for the temple development. It should be reserved for trails and a natural area that would make an “excellent statement on the environment” given its prominent location at the south entrance to Red Deer.
Another resident also expressed concern that the temple could lead to a significant increase in local traffic and could have an impact on well water supplies.
Several council members spoke in favour of the project. Philip Massier said a church was a better fit than a factory or other high-impact use.
Mayor Jim Wood believed the project could be designed to fit in well with its environment.
“I think that we could probably see this going forward in a manner that is not going to impact the environmentally significant area.”
Varinder Sadhu, the director of the board for the temple, said they are happy to work with the county to meet all of its requirements.
The three-acre site has been donated and will give local Sikhs their first temple. About 50 families now worship once a month in the Eastview Community Centre.
Currently, Sikh families must go to temples in Edmonton, Calgary or other cities for special ceremonies such as weddings.
If all goes to plan, they hope to have the temple ready in a couple of years.