Proposed “Ark” development project holds public forum

By Jarrett Crowe
November 13, 2012 - 5:00pm

The Wesley United Church wants public input on their proposed affordable housing project known as the Ark.

The church hosted a public presentation and forum for community members on Nov. 13 to make suggestions and comments on the project.

Gil Streeton, Ark committee chairman, said the feedback from the public is important to the advancement of the project.

“We wanted to try and increase the number of people providing input to us, so we could get new ideas and new suggestions,” he said.

Streeton said nothing is finalized, as it still will need to be approved by the congregation at the next annual general assembly.

“In December, we’ll be making a recommendation to the church council but they won’t be making a decision," he said. "The decision will be made next March when we reach the church’s annual meeting. Then the congregation will have to make a decision.” 

The Ark Project is a proposed community development that could include a church, a chapel, residential towers, a senior’s community centre, and a daycare. Streeton said some people had suggested the current preliminary design, however is not big enough.

“I found it interesting when we first started this was supposed to be just a little project… (Some people have suggested) you should be looking at building this in conjunction to a huge commercial enterprise where you got food stores and clothing stores,” he said.

About four acres will be needed for the core facility and about 7.5 acres for the expanded design as shown in a preliminary development computer design. The final development could change depending on the input provided by the public or if church moves forward with a different design.

“So all of a sudden this isn’t big enough anymore, so that’s one of the things that came out today. we have to keep thinking bigger and bigger,” Streeton said.

The church currently does not have a set location to build, instead they are waiting for further input and approval before finalizing a location.

Streeton added however if the development moves forward, it will not be restricted to church members but will be open and available to everyone regardless of their beliefs.

“A lot of people are saying PA needs something like this. The fact that it’s going to be wide open, it isn’t simply meant for United Church people, it’s meant for everybody,” he said.

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