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New Mennonite Church approved but cemetery proposal rejected

by Chris Daponte

MAPLETON TWP. - A new Mennonite church in the former Maryborough township is one step closer to reality, but that project will not include a cemetery, as the proponents had first wanted.

At its last meeting in July, Mapleton council approved a zoning bylaw amendment to allow the construction of the 4,800 square foot church on a four acre parcel of land on County Road 10, across from Concession 5, northwest of Conestogo Lake.

But included in that bylaw is a section specifically stating “a cemetery shall not be permitted on the subject lands.”

Owner Ronald Harrington, of the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference (MWMC), with the help of planner Bruce Donaldson, had asked for a cemetery on the site in the application submitted earlier this year.

Wellington County planner Linda Redmond, in her original report to Mapleton council in April, suggested a cemetery on the property could be okay as long as “the appropriate approvals are obtained by the Minister of Consumer Services and the Medical Officer of Health.”

But councillors were leery about the idea from the start.

“We felt there were enough cemeteries within the township already,” councillor Mike Downey said last week when asked about the objection to the proposal.

He explained there are “a couple” cemeteries available to the congregation of the proposed church without them having to set up a new one in a rural area of the township with several neighbours nearby.

Downey added some of those living close to the property were not thrilled with the idea, and council could also run into land use issues if it approved cemeteries all over the place.

After little comment, council unanimously approved the zoning amendment bylaw on July 19 (councillors Andy Knetsch and Neil Driscoll were absent).

However, council decided to defer another bylaw executing a site plan agreement for the church between the MWMC and the township.

Deputy clerk Barb Schellenberger explained the applicants wanted to delay the site plan because they had changed their minds on a few of the details.


August 5, 2011


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