January 16, 2019 7:42 pm
Updated: January 16, 2019 8:30 pm

Coptic church expansion plans divide Pointe-Claire neighbourhood

WATCH: Some residents in Pointe-Claire are upset over a Greek orthodox church's plan to expand. The church hall would be built near the corner of Lakeshore Road and des Sources Boulevard. As Global's Billy Shields explains, the church would like to build a gymnasium and reception hall large enough to accommodate 400 people.

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A plan by a Coptic church in Pointe-Claire to renovate an abandoned school and turn it into a church hall has residents of the southeastern corner of the city divided.

The St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church is planning on razing the school building and put in a hall that includes underground parking, a reception hall and a gymnasium. Some residents have reservations.

“My concern is that they will use it, rent it out, use it for social events,” said Anna Merulla, who lives near the church.

READ MORE: Pointe-Claire residents mount fiery last-ditch attempt to save the Pioneer pub

She and others worry that the expansion will cause issues with traffic and noise.

Church representatives told Global News that the plans are scaled down from another project that the city council refused in 2014.

READ MORE: Pointe-Claire holds consultations on future development in the village

The new plans do not involve expanding the use of the church’s property beyond its current membership, said Mayor John Belvedere.

“They’ve made it clear to us, and they’re willing to put it in writing, that it would only be for their members, the 400 people,” he said.

Belvedere said signatures are already being gathered that could trigger a referendum on the issue. Currently, Pointe-Claire City Council is determining whether to change the zoning of the plot. They are expected to render a decision later this month.

READ MORE: Pointe-Claire rejects development project to replace the Pioneer

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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