Church leaders offer Sanctuary over development concerns
Leaders of a Coast church eyeing expansion into a former tourist attraction say they are willing to meet with any neighbours worried about the development.
Reaction has been mixed from nearby residents, with some happy about the possibility of a church moving in next door and others concerned about its impacts.
Monarch Place residents Craig and Kristen Porter share a boundary with the proposed church site.
The Porters were attracted to the rainforest feel of the area when they built at Mons six years ago.
"I'm a fly-in, fly-out worker so mentally coming back here and having this greenery (is great)," Mr Porter said.
He said they were pleased the church had been upfront with them about their intentions for the block.
"They came and saw us about four or five months ago," Mr Porter said.
"They are like us, they want to keep this environment and we are happy with that."
He said he preferred a church to other potential uses for the site.
"Prior to them buying it was going to be a seven-day-a-week ropes course."
Mr Porter said he had objected strongly to that option.
He said Life Church had been professional in their dealings and he and his wife had been happy to host a recent resident meeting about the development.
"They assured us the noise will stay in the building," Mr Porter said.
"For us it is better than what they were going to put there."
But Tanawha Tourist Drive resident Meg Mullins was not convinced.
She said she learned about the church proposal late last month.
"For us it is quite odd," Ms Mullins said.
"We have had little bits and pieces (of information)."
She bought her property, which shares a driveway with the church's block, nearly three years ago.
She chose it because it had "no bloody neighbours" and lots of trees.
But she said a lot of trees had been cleared from the block since then.
"I'd rather it (the development) didn't happen," Ms Mullins said.
"They couldn't build it any closer to my house if they tried."
She said her main concerns were for her privacy, the noise of the church and traffic issues.
But she said she would meet with the church to talk through her concerns.
A few other neighbours with shared boundaries to the development site said they were aware of the church proposal but didn't know enough about it to comment on it.
Life Church senior pastor Ashley Goode said he had been looking for about five years for a new site as his congregation of about 800 people struggled to fit into their Warana base.
"It's big enough for us to meet but the carparking is very small," Mr Goode said.
"To survive here we would have to go multiple dual services."
He said he would rather his congregation be more connected.
Mr Goode said the environmental features of the Mons site were a large factor in a decision to buy the two adjoining blocks last year, one of which used to be Forest Glen Deer Sanctuary.
The new development, if approved, will be called The Sanctuary.
He was unsure how much it would cost to build but lead pastor Rick Emmerson said funding the build would come from donations.
"I think it is a generational home for our congregation," Mr Emmerson said.
He said it was important to the church that they approached neighbours to tell them their plans.
"We don't do anything by sneaking things through," Mr Emmerson said.
"We live by values of transparency and community."
He said feedback from neighbours so far had been "overwhelmingly positive" and he and Mr Goode were happy to arrange meetings with residents who had concerns about their proposal.