Temple developers back with new plan
Tibetan Buddhist temple proposers schedule an open house for the public on Nov. 9
JANETVILLE — A Manvers Towship-area temple proposal has returned to Kawartha Lakes city staff three years after developers were sent back to the drawing board following a public meeting.
The Riwoche Society is planning an education centre and temple for their 40.5-hectare property at 344 Old Mill Rd. near Janetville. The society first hosted a public meeting on the development in 2016.
This temple has no connection to the Cham Shan Temple near Bethany.
Richard Holy, planning manager for the City of Kawartha Lakes, said “residents expressed concerns to increased traffic, noise, dust, the quality of the road, road flooding, future uses and numbers of attendees, other temple locations, well monitoring, economic benefit, septic requirements, emergen- cy services access and impacts on significant woodlands” at that meeting.
The society has since submitted a revised proposal to the city which has been circulated to various city departments and agencies including Kawartha Conservation and area First Nations. “The applicant submitted updated studies and reports and revised their plans to address concerns,” Holy said.
The revised proposal cuts the education centre in half — from 1,145 square feet to 550 square feet — and has fewer accommodations — 15 rooms instead of 25. The centre and five private cabins are to be completed in Phase 1 of the project.
Phase 2 of the project would see the development of a 363square-foot temple.
The plans were presented at a Planning Advisory Committee meeting Sept. 11 as a “continuation of the public meeting.”
Many of the concerns brought up at the meeting by attending residents echoed those from the first. Holy said “area residents expressed concerns related mainly to increased traffic, parking, numbers of attendees, the quality of the road, road flooding, existing and future uses, other temple locations and emergency services access.”
According to meeting minutes, the chair of the Riwoche Temple, Diane Costa, clarified it has no affiliation with the Cham Shan Temple Bethany on Ski Hill Road. She also noted its “core membership is significantly smaller in comparison with only 25 to 30 people.”
Costa said the education centre would offer educational programs including healthy living, and traditional Buddhist courses and retreats attracting around 20 to 25 people at a time. She said the location was selected for its peace and tranquility, and the construction of stupas and other facilities would add to the peace in the area.
Costa said the development will look to hire local contractors where possible and that concerns from the previous public meeting have been taken into account. One way traffic concerns have been accounted for, she said, is that the temple has rented a bus, and/or carpooled attendees to the site to reduce impact.
Staff recommended that the application be circulated for further review and comment from the committee, area agencies, city departments and the public.
The Riwoche Society and EcoVue Consulting Services will host an open house there on Nov. 9 between 2 and 4 p.m.
A group interested in building a Buddhist temple near Janetville is working with City of Kawartha Lakes council. This is a separate development from the Cham Shan Temple near Bethany.