February 6, 2019 12:01 am
Updated: February 6, 2019 10:26 pm

Referendum to decide fate of controversial Pointe-Claire Coptic church expansion plan

Pointe-Claire will hold a referendum to decide the fate of the Coptic Church expansion plan.

Brayden Jagger Haines

The fate of a plot of land owned by the St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church will be decided by referendum.

After years of disagreement, the City of Pointe-Claire announced before council on Tuesday that residents will be able to vote on the zoning of the land earmarked for a controversial church community centre.

The city will hold an anticipation vote on March 31 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A second vote on April 7th from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All votes will be taken place at City Hall.

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On Jan. 28, a petition with 37 signatures from city residents forced the referendum. Only 30 were required to trigger the vote.

READ MORE: Coptic church expansion plans divide Pointe-Claire neighbourhood

The land, which sits on the boarder of Pointe-Claire and Dorval, presently has a derelict building that was formerly used as a school.

Members of the Coptic church wish to renovate the abandoned school and turn it into a church community centre.

The centre would be able to house 400 people and would include a reception hall, underground parking and a gymnasium.

Some residents in the area have reservations about the possible construction of the centre.

Louise Bissonnette, who has lived in the area for over 20 years, says the centre will cause increased congestion in the area.

“The church will now have more reason to congregate six days a week, not just the weekend traffic problem we deal with already, but a six-day-a-week traffic problem,” she said.

Bissonnette believes traffic on Lakeshore Drive and parking on nearby side streets would be a constant struggle if the proposed facility were built.

The centre does have plans for a 56-car underground garage, but that has Bissonnette worried about the “fragile lakeshore.”

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

Bissonnette, like many residents who live near the area, wants the land to be rezoned as residential for housing development.

Global News has reached out to the St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church for comment on the referendum but had not heard back from church officials by the time of publication.

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

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