By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
At this week’s meeting of the Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Standing Committee, members voted to recommend Northumberland County council approve an amendment to Cramahe Township’s Official Plan that stands to bring new life to an abandoned Colborne church.
The former Colborne United Church at 1 Church Street (at the corner of County Road 2) is the subject of an application submitted to the township in May by RFA Planning on behalf of Hamid Electricitech to convert the old church into 16 condominium apartments.
Northumberland Manager of Land-Use Planning Dwayne Campbell said the repurposing of the building would mean a land-use change from the current Institutional designation in the Official Plan to a Residential one.
“It goes a long way to show what is possible when you have the right development and developer in a community to revitalize and repurpose a building that was otherwise being unused,” Campbell said.
“I think it is a step in the right direction for Colborne, for Cramahe and for those other underutilized parcels we see in some of our other communities. It takes some creative thinking and some good developers willing to invest in a community and make those changes – and at the same time, bringing a different form of housing we haven’t seen for some time.”
The new units will be created inside the structure, Campbell said, with the existing church facade maintained on the exterior. The next step will be a site-plan application process to nail down design details and such considerations as parking.
Within the constraints of the Official Plan and other applicable statutes, said Cramahe Mayor Mandy Martin – not a committee member, but sitting in on the meeting – council supports the development. Martin cited the prospect of residential development within the downtown area and intensification that is consistent with provincial policy.