The gigantic cranes, the imposing I-beam structure and the construction-site ordinances at the corner of Columbia Drive and Scurfield Boulevard all point to a massive undertaking.
No, not another big-box store but rather the future home of St. Gianna’s Roman Catholic Church. West along McGillivray Boulevard is prominent signage for the proposed sites of Trinity Presbyterian and Whyte Ridge Baptist churches.
These faith groups aren’t new to Whyte Ridge. They’ve been established communities for some time.
Trinity Presbyterian met in the former Cinema City; Whyte Ridge Baptist Church has had a worship centre on Scurfield Boulevard since 1988; and St. Gianna’s Catholic Parish, established in 2004, continues to meet in the gymnasium of the Winnipeg Technical College on Henlow Bay, with hopes of worshipping in the first phase of its own church by spring 2014.
The common denominator of these expansive new builds is the need and desire to be more visible in Whyte Ridge.
David Wynne, chairman of the board of Whyte Ridge Baptist Church, said, "We don’t want to be apart from the community but rather a part of the community."
Father Darrin Gurr, pastor of St. Gianna’s Catholic Church, echoed this sentiment, saying he sees the church’s presence here in Whyte Ridge as an investment in the neighbourhood.
Through a call to stewardship giving, the parishioners of St. Gianna’s have been able to realize the building that will speak to the spirit of this community of Catholics.
"People shape buildings; buildings shape lives," Father Gurr said. With its antiphonal worship space and subterranean Living Waters Columbarium Crypt, phase one will be a truly divine worship space.
Whyte Ridge Baptist Church is hoping for a spades-in-the-ground date five to seven years in the future at its 11.7 acres bordering FortWhyte Alive.
Reverend Matt Brough, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian, says that his church is about three years from its project start.
Whether seen as an extension of community services or as an offset to the surrounding commercial hub, these faith projects are welcoming sanctuaries in Whyte Ridge.
Pat Kelly is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.