Homeowner upset that permission was given for a crusade near her home
A homeowner of
Choppins is having her peace and quiet shattered for one month while a crusade takes place opposite her home.
“These things cannot be allowed to happen,” Cora Ross-Cambridge stated, while speaking to SEARCHLIGHT about the many discussions she has had in an effort to put a halt to the event.
However, her efforts were to no avail and for four weeks, 70-year-old Ross-Cambridge is the unwilling attendee at a Seventh Day Adventist crusade that has been given permission to set up a tent and portable toilets on a lot of land opposite her own.
“It should not happen to anybody. No church should have that right, not the Seventh Day, not any church, my church, no church should have that right to do that at anybody’s doorstep,” the frustrated woman stated.
The first person that Ross-Cambridge said she spoke to about her concern was town planner in the Physical Planning Unit, Tyrone Ballah, who she said told her that as far as he knew permission had not been granted.
“So I said okay I will send a letter to your office objecting to this. So I wrote a letter, and I sent it, and two weeks later, a tent was erected in front of my house,” the Choppins resident stated.
“He gave me some talk about it’s a church, and once it’s a church, they don’t object to a church erecting a tent because it’s only a temporary building, so they don’t give objections to that,” she stated, opining that this thinking was ridiculous.
She said Ballah told her that the site of the tent was one of the better ones, as in the past, tents have been erected between two houses.
She said she was subsequently told that the crusade was only for four weeks, and that permission had already been granted.
Ross-Cambridge, who also sought the assistance of the police commended Commissioner of Police Colin John for being “very accommodating” and for dealing with her as if her “concern mattered”.
However, a police officer at Calliaqua police station was less so, and although, according to Ross-Cambridge, he said that when the crusade started he would monitor the music and get back to her, he never did.
August 18 marked the beginning of the crusade. “The first night when they had that thing, the bass just went on in my head after they had gone home,” Ross-Cambridge relayed about the three-hour service.
This prompted her to speak to an official of the Seventh Day Adventist church who told her that he would pass the message on that they should reduce the volume of the music. He apparently agreed with her that the branch of Seventh Day Adventists that had erected the tent should have told her that they were going to put a tent up in front of her house.
Ross-Cambridge says that she knows that nothing can be done about the tent now, “but I feel for future, whether it is me or somebody else, it is very wrong.”
She strongly feels that the authorities need to do a better job at monitoring tent activities, regardless of denomination.
“…It has nothing to do with the Seventh Day Church, but a church should not have a right to erect a tent in front of somebody’s house like that for open air meetings, for all of four weeks, in the night.”
SEARCHLIGHT spoke with town planner Tyrone Ballah, who indicated that when persons apply for permission to erect tents, they are required to submit “the relevant drawings that show where you’re setting up [the] tent and where [the] toilets are, and where [they] propose to have parking.”
He said applications are made to the Physical Planning and Development Board, which considers it.
The town planner has the power to act on behalf of the Board as well.
“In these cases, where we have temporary tents, sometimes they come and we look at them…and they’re pretty standard, it’s things that they’re doing. Every year they have a program of crusades, so it has become a standard and a norm with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and some other churches too, that they submit these things and we have never had issues with them operating in villages,” Ballah explained.
He said he weighed Ross-Cambridge’s objection against the interests of those applying.
“It is an open tent but it is not something that is going to be there permanently. If it is going to be there permanently, you would not necessarily consider the same condition, there would be different requirements,” he stated.