No good deed. . .

Stone Church so­ci­ety still wait­ing for doc­u­ment

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

A year af­ter rais­ing funds to pur­chase church, so­ci­ety still wait­ing for the deed.

Oh where of where has the for­mer St. Alphon­sus Church deed gone?

“We are still pa­tiently wait­ing for the dio­cese to hand over the deed but it’s been a year of wait­ing for them,” said Melanie Samp­son, pres­i­dent of the Stone Church Restora­tion So­ci­ety, which en­tered into an agree­ment with the Dio­cese of Antigo­nish to pur­chase the church two years ago.

“The amount of time that has gone up is un­ac­cept­able and has caused great hard­ship to the so­ci­ety.

“It’s a year that has cost us a great fi­nan­cial costs be­cause we weren’t able to rent out the prop­erty for out­door wed­dings and events and we weren’t el­i­gi­ble for grants due to the fact we do not have the deed.”

The Stone Church Restora­tion So­ci­ety was formed in Fe­bru­ary 2014 and in Septem­ber 2015 the dio­cese agreed to the so­ci­ety’s of­fer of $40,000 for the for­mer church and as per the agree­ment pay­ment was made in four in­stal­ments, with the fi­nal pay­ment in Au­gust 2016.

Samp­son said the so­ci­ety has waited for a copy of the sale and pur­chase agree­ment since as well as the land sub­di­vi­sion and deed.

“De­spite nu­mer­ous at­tempts by our lawyer to get a pur­chase and sale agree­ment, the dio­cese keeps say­ing ‘It’s forth­com­ing’ and now two years have gone by.”

As well Samp­son said the dio­cese sub­mit­ted the sub­di­vi­sion to the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity for ap­proval yet they’ve never seen it.

“That con­cerns us be­cause if it’s not ex­actly what we’ve agreed to they will have to go back and redo it, and that means more money and time, and we don’t have that.”

As well Samp­son said a mil­i­tary group is sup­posed to be com­ing in Novem­ber to pro­vide labour and stag­ing to put on a new roof on the church, as well as elec­tri­cal and heat­ing up­grades.

“How­ever, we have to pro­vide the deed so they can con­firm we own the prop­erty.”

Samp­son sent in a pro­posal for the mil­i­tary con­nec­tion with the church, which was a safe haven for sol­diers 100 years ago.

“They had movie nights there and they at­tended parish ball games with the parish priest against the chil­dren,” she said.

“They’ve been wait­ing for proof of own­er­ship since and I’m scared we are go­ing to lose this con­tract now.”

Samp­son said she has left nu­mer­ous mes­sages for Bishop Brian Dunn the past two months and he has never re­turned any of her calls.

On Thurs­day the Cape Bre­ton Post called Bishop Dunn at about 11:30 a.m. but he was in a meet­ing. At about 12:15 p.m. Dunn called Samp­son and left a voice mes­sage. Dunn did not re­turn the call to the Cape Bre­ton Post.

David Pa­ton, devel­op­ment of­fi­cer with the CBRM, said a sur­veyor made ap­pli­ca­tion for a sub­di­vi­sion of the for­mer St. Alphon­sus Church prop­erty on June 7 on be­half of the owner the Catholic Epis­co­pal Corp.

Ba­si­cally it’s read­just­ing the bound­aries to sep­a­rate the ceme­ter­ies from the prop­erty be­ing sold, he said.

Pa­ton said the CBRM is in re­ceipt of all the nec­es­sary ap­provals in­clud­ing from De­part­ments of En­vi­ron­ment and Trans­porta­tion and the land reg­istry.

“We re­ceived every­thing back we need to ap­prove the plan but we have to wait for the prop­erty to be mi­grated.”

In a story in the Cape Bre­ton Post on Jan. 29 about the de­lays, Rev. Paul Ab­bass said the prop­erty had to be sub­di­vided, a com­pli­cated process that would take time.

Then in a Post story March 9, the dio­cese told Samp­son they should have the deed in four to six weeks.

Friends Martin MacK­in­non, 91, of South Bar, and Mike Camp­bell, 91 of New Vic­to­ria, are both life-long mem­bers of the for­mer St. Alphon­sus Church and mem­bers of the New Water­ford and Area Ceme­tery So­ci­ety.

MacK­in­non mar­ried his wife Glo­ria in the church and Camp­bell his wife Peggy. Now both their wives have since died away and are buried there.

Al­though it was dis­ap­point­ing when the dio­cese closed the church there was a light at the end of the tun­nel for MacK­in­non when the so­ci­ety stepped for­ward to pur­chase it.

“We think that was a great idea,” he said.

With the de­lay and time gone by he hopes the so­ci­ety gets ac­cess to it soon. Camp­bell agrees. “Martin and I are al­ways up here walk­ing around as we love the area.”

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Friends Martin MacK­in­non, left, 91, of South Bar, and Mike Camp­bell, 91, of New Vic­to­ria, gather to­gether in front of the for­mer St. Alphon­sus Church where both were not only life-long mem­bers but were mar­ried there and now have their wives buried there. MacK­in­non and Camp­bell said it was sad to see the church close but they were happy the Stone Church Restora­tion So­ci­ety has saved it and hope the so­ci­ety gets ac­cess to it soon.

Samp­son

Comments

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.