A new Seventh Day Adventist Church planned for Old Yale Road drew supporters and opponents to a public hearing at Langley Township council Monday.
The project is slated for a piece of land in the 23500 block of Old Yale Road, with access to Fraser Highway to the north.
The Aldergrove-based church has experienced a great deal of growth in recent years and is looking for a new location to expand, as well as space to run its Acts of Kindness program.
Neighbours of the site worried about traffic and water issues.
"I don't know how this road's going to support more traffic," said Karl Unger, who lives nearby.
He also said he's worried about the church and its parking lot paving most of the 4.7 acre site. His neighbours have already had problems with water runoff and localized flooding, he said.
Kurt Ruginis said the area is rural and should stay that way.
"City is city, country is country," Ruginis said. "I wish the city people would leave us alone so we could attend to our work."
Several members of the church attended to speak in favour of the project, as did those who do not attend services, but have been helped by the Acts of Kindness program.
Karen Weeks told the council how she was a recipient of the Extreme Home Repair program in 2009. Her home was moldy and she didn't have the resources to repair it, despite the fact that her asthmatic daughter was making repeated trips to the hospital.
"Basically, my home was killing my daughter," said the Aldergrove woman.
She hadn't even heard of the Seventh Day Adventist Church until they contacted her to let her know they would be repairing her house free of charge.
"These people came into my home and saved my daughter's life," Weeks said.
Walter Grochowski also received support to repair his home, in the wake of his son's death.
He noted that thanks to the Acts of Kindness program, he was able to clear up his finances and pay four years of property taxes he owed to the Township.
Pastor David Jameson said some years ago, members of the church asked themselves if they vanished, would anyone outside the congregation even notice. The answer was no, so the church launched its Acts of Kindness project to help people around the community.
"We believe that a church congregation needs to be involved in extreme generosity," he said.
The new church will allow them to expand their Acts of Kindness Centre and to minister to people all through the Township of Langley.
It will also help the two-thirds of their parishoners who live in western Langley or Surrey attend services more easily, he said.
Township councillors asked several questions about the project, focused on how many visitors the church can expect on weekends and weekdays, and about provisions for moving water off the property.
Jameson noted that few of the projects for the Extreme Home Repair or other outreach programs actually take place on church property. The program of oil changes for single mothers, for example, takes place at the Fraser Valley Adventist Academy.
Langley Township council will vote at a future meeting on whether or not to approve a rezoning to allow the new church to move forward.
@ Copyright 2013