Aldergrove’s Seventh Day Adventist Church will have a new home, despite the objections of many of the neighbours of the new location.
On Monday night, Langley Township council voted 7-1 in favour of allowing the church to go ahead and build a new structure of almost 60,000 square feet in the 23500 block of Old Yale Road.
The new church was opposed by several of its neighbours. They worried about increases in traffic along rural Old Yale, as well as raising concerns about drainage issues for the site and its neighbours, and the amount of well water a church might draw.
“I don’t know how this road’s going to support more traffic,” resident Karl Unger told the council at the public hearing.
However, church members and other supporters argued that the church needs to expand. The Seventh Day Adventist congregation has been undertaking an Acts of Kindness program for several years, renovating homes and helping single mothers with oil changes, among other projects.
Many of those aided by the church came to the public hearing to offer their support.
Neighbours said they didn’t feel the site was suitable, despite the church’s good works.
However, most of the council members felt that access to Fraser Highway would make the building appropriate.
Coun. Kim Richter was opposed to the plan. She said that while the church does a lot of good, she felt the site doesn’t meet the guidelines for assembly use.
She said she doesn’t want to see five acres in rural Langley paved over.
Other councillors said they had weighed both sides but ultimately came down in favour of the church being built.
Coun. David Davis said he too had concerns about the size of the building, but noted that Fraser Highway is a major road and provides much of the access for the new building.
The vote means that the third reading of rezoning bylaws has passed. A fourth and final reading of the bylaw will be held at a future meeting to finalize the matter.
Before that, some details of the design may be changed. Council asked to make sure that driveway alignment on the site does not interfere with neighbours across the street.