Off to new home at Ca­nia

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jack Lawrie

MONTO’S Angli­can Church hall has been re­moved af­ter stand­ing proudly in the town for al­most 100 years.

The hall was taken apart piece by piece two weeks ago with the in­ten­tion to be re­assem­bled else­where.

The de­ci­sion came af­ter years of de­bate from the church com­mit­tee over what to do with the old build­ing, which had be­come in­un­dated with prob­lems.

The hall hadn’t been used as a church since 1964, when the cur­rent church was built, and had been over­run by white ants as a re­sult of dis­use.

Rev­erend Jeff Bal­naves, the Angli­can min­is­ter for the area, said it was the right call to make.

“It’s sad but nec­es­sary. I think they’ve made a sen­si­ble and wise de­ci­sion,” Mr Bal­naves said.

The quote to fix the hall is thought to have been about $90,000.

Church com­mit­tee mem­ber Chris Forsyth said the de­ci­sion to de­mol­ish the church was not made lightly.

“We’ve been talk­ing about this for a few years now,” Mrs Forsyth said.

“We even tried to ap­ply for a gam­ing grant to cover the cost of fix­ing it, but they told us there were al­ready enough halls in the area.”

The com­mit­tee opted to let re­turn­ing Monto res­i­dent Jaiben Baker take the church into his own hands.

“Ba­si­cally it was a li­a­bil­ity to them,” Mr Baker said.

“I went through the Angli­can Dio­cese of Bris­bane to do the for­mal con­tract.”

Mr Baker moved out of Monto roughly 20 years ago but came back to live with his fam­ily in March.

Monto church war­den Theresa Pat­tie said use of the old hall had dropped off in the past two to three years.

“Not a lot of peo­ple are us­ing the church so it didn’t seem like a good idea to spend all that money on it,” Mrs Pat­tie said.

“We had had a lot of trou­ble with white ants and the foun­da­tions had got shaky, but the cost to fix that was be­yond our means.

“The only way around it we could see was to of­fer it for re­moval.”

The church hall is slated to be re­built on a prop­erty at Ca­nia Springs near the en­trance to the gorge, where Mr Baker hopes to turn it into a functional com­mu­nity space.

It’s sad but nec­es­sary. I think they’ve made a sen­si­ble and wise de­ci­sion. — Rev Jeff Bal­naves

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