NewsTue Jan 29, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Toronto Suburb Agrees to Delay Consideration of Proposal to Tax Churches
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
BRAMPTON, Ontario January 29, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Brampton Faith Coalition, a group organized to present a united challenge to the city’s proposals to impose severe restrictions on places of worship, has announced that the City of Brampton has again postponed looking at a controversial "secret" study.
A copy of the study, which had been commissioned by the City of Brampton, was leaked earlier this month, and caused an outcry from religious leaders.
Many of the study’s suggestions have been described as eerily reminiscent of measures taken by communist regimes, to quell religious activity.
Recommendations include: taxing all "non-worship space" owned by religious organizations such as halls, nurseries, offices, kitchens, parking lots, etc (only the actual space where the congregation gathers for worship would be tax exempt); redefining what constitutes a "place of worship", including removing of provisions expressly allowing church properties to be used for community services such as day care or study centers; placing severe restrictions on the establishment of new churches, including regulating what space these start-ups could rent, where, and for how long; establishing a ratio of one place of worship for every ten thousand residents; and substantially increasing permit fees for renovation, new construction, and zoning and variance issues.
The City of Brampton has agreed to delay considering the study for at least six months, and has also agreed to allow the Brampton Faith Coalition to have input into the consideration of the study.
The points of issue with Brampton’s places of worship study, according to the Brampton Faith Coalition website (http://www.bramptonfaithcoalition.com/issues.htm) are:
i. There is no pathway for beginning faith groups to follow and progress effectively into their own permanent facilities.
ii. Developer "reserve sites" are not sufficient to provide for Brampton’s place of worship growth and the timetable offered is too challenging to meet. (Page 29. Items 5,6 & 7)
iii. The proposed guidelines for housing "incubator" congregations are too restrictive. (Page 42, Item 7)
iv. Community functions have been removed from the definition of worship, thus eliminating vital aspects of effective worship and service by the faith community (Page 42, Item 6)
v. Multi-use and multi-zoning within a place of worship designation will not be allowed. (Page 42, Item 7)
vi. Regular meetings of small groups in homes will be limited to 20 people, which could restrict effective ministry. (Page 43, Item 14)
Read previous LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Church Property Tax Exemption, Freedom of Religion and Association in Peril In Ontario City
City Suggestion to Tax Churches Gets Shelved after Public Scrutiny