Minnow Lake Church Rezoning Challenge - History and Resolution

The community met this challenge and the outcome was favorable.  The establishment of an industrial water bottling plant that was approved by city council did not go ahead, largely because it would have been opposed by citizens in the area through the Community Action Network and Minnow Lake Restoration Group.  The building was acquired by a local law firm and fitness group and will become a law office (upper level) and fitness center (basement).  The CAN supports these uses and appeared before the planning committee to endorse these beneficial uses. . 





 CAN Group  Opposes Industrial Zoning of former Church:   At a public meeting of the Minnow Lake Community Action Network (January 17th) a majority were against the establishment of a water bottling plant in the former church at the corner of Bellevue and Bancroft Drive.  The picture above shows water treatment equipment being moved into the building prior to the rezoning hearing.  Against staff recommendations, the city planning committee voted 3 to2 to let the rezoning take place, despite strong citizen opposition .  The CAN will consider future action should full council approve the decision.

Former church is located in residential area.  The church as shown above has approximately the same floor area as the Culligan water plant located in the Kelly Lake (industrial) area.  With no limits on production or hours of operation (not possible when a property is zoned industrial) the former church site could take on the appearance such as that of the rear of the Culligan operation shown to the right above.  See loading door installed (prior to approval on side of church) - this is where the trucks would pick up the full water bottles, and deliver the empties plus park, not behind the building like the Culligan operation.  The trucks would be traveling to and from area mining companies (the new occupants main customers) along a route not designated for truck traffic.  Both these items are addressed in the city staff report below and spoken to in the presentation by Minnow Lake Restoration Group President and CAN co-chair John Lindsay.   Ten presented in favor or questioned the application.  Two spoke in favour - the applicants agent and realtor plus ward councillor.

Read Staff Report Against the Rezoning:

Read Minnow Lake Restoration Group and CAN co-chair address to planning committee:

Reasons given by the councillors who voted for the rezoning included:  The immediate area already has a hotel and drug store and auto repair shop (these facilities serve the local neighborhood, while the bottling plant serves the mining industry)  Residents could obtain water bottles from the plant (5 gallon water bottles are already available from local convenience, hardware and drug stores).  The new owner has replaced some windows in the building.  Five ton cube vans are not really trucks and better a bottling plant than something worse (a concern of some nearby residents according to the ward councillor, saying a home for delinquent youth could be a possibility.  The councillors gave no consideration to the staff report which recommended rejecting the application or to concerns from those citizens objecting.  One councillor even downplayed the potential  fire hazard (plastic water bottles stored inside an old church building in a residential area) saying "how likely is this to occur - I have never heard of a fire in a water bottling plant". 

Since this matter has been reported in the media a number of citizens have expressed their concern. 

We are happy to report that the matter had a satisfactory resolution and the church will now house a law office and fitness centre.  It is felt that the proponents of the bottling plant felt their case was not strong enough to sustain a challenge to the OMB on the part of local citiznes, especially as city staff opposed the project and would likely be called as witnesses for those appealing councils decion.  This is evidence that citizens can fight "city hall" and get satisfactory outcomes to actions which go against community wishes.