Church to go
A proposal to demolish St David’s Presbyterian Church in Tocumwal was approved by the Berrigan Shire Council last month despite concerns it may be of local significance due to its size, age, design, and cultural and religious history.
A spokesperson from the church committee, David Gibbs, said the 100 year-old building has major foundation flaws, is no longer safe to use, and is not financially viable for repair.
He said the church had not been in use for eight years with parishioners using the hall, located behind the church, for services.
Mr Gibbs said the decision had been ‘‘years in the making’’ and was ‘‘a very tough one’’.
‘‘It’s a delicate matter. Before going ahead we had to be sure everyone on the committee agreed.
‘‘It’s a real pity to see it go, but realistically speaking it has gone beyond us.’’
He said the clay foundation, which shrinks and expands with the weather, has caused the building to shift and split.
‘‘There are about 16 serious cracks from top to bottom, some you could fit your arm in.
‘‘The interior is in disrepair and an estimate to have the building fixed was upwards of $100,000, not including the footings or the roof.’’
The SOUTHERN RIVERINA NEWS understands that council had suggested alternative options to committee members and would prefer to see the property sold to an individual who has the financial resources and an interest in preserving the building.
However, unless there is significant community interest and appeals made directly to the Tocumwal/Finley/Berrigan Presbyterian Church Committee of Management, then the building will be demolished.
Mr Gibbs said the committee had looked at selling the property but did not believe they would get a good enough return.
He acknowledged there would be community concern, but said many don’t ‘‘fully understand’’ the problems involved.
‘‘It doesn’t matter what we do, we will just have to continue sinking money into it.
‘‘On advice we have decided to demolish the building and continue with the block.
‘‘With the money we save we can replace the church with one built on solid foundations, that will stand the test of time.’’
Mr Gibbs said the committee was still undecided about what will happen to the pulpit and pews from inside the building.