Church plan­ning $8m re­de­vel­op­ment project

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - LOGAN SAVORY

OVER­ALL church at­ten­dances in New Zealand are de­clin­ing, but of­fi­cials at one In­ver­cargill church say they do not match that trend and are plan­ning a bold new $8.6 mil­lion de­vel­op­ment.

The Rev Peter Dunn, of Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church, ac­knowl­edged there was a per­cep­tion that ‘‘churches are dy­ing’’.

How­ever, he said the Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church con­gre­ga­tion was hold­ing and had the poten­ tial to grow.

He felt the planned mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar de­vel­op­ment was im­por­tant for both its con­gre­ga­tion and the In­ver­cargill com­mu­nity.

The $8.6 mil­lion de­vel­op­ment idea was first floated when the pre­vi­ous church build­ing, built in 1927, was de­mol­ished in 2016 be­cause of the risk of it col­laps­ing.

Since then, the con­gre­ga­tion had met in the neigh­bour­ing Ju­bilee Hall.

The Ju­bilee Hall would re­main as part of the pro­posed project, but would need some struc­tural work.

All the sur­round­ing build­ings on the site would be pulled down to make way for the rest of the re­build.

The planned com­plex would in­clude a 450­seat au­di­to­rium, 80 to 100­seat chapel, of­fices and park­ing spa­ces.

The aim now was to pull to­gether the re­quired $8.6 mil­lion, with for­mer long­serv­ing MP and cur­rent En­vi­ron­ment South­land coun­cil­lor Eric Roy at the helm. Logic Group had been en­listed as the project man­ager.

Mr Roy, who has been a mem­ber of the Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church for seven years, said the first task was to de­ter­mine how much the mem­bers and as­so­ciate mem­bers were pre­pared to per­son­ally pay to­wards the de­vel­op­ment.

The tar­get was to raise $3 mil­lion in pledges from the al­most 250 mem­bers and as­so­ciate mem­ bers of the Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church.

‘‘It is a big fig­ure. We need to de­ter­mine if we can pro­ceed to the next stage,’’ Mr Roy said.

The com­mit­ment from mem­bers so far was ‘‘very en­cour­ag­ing’’, he said.

That mem­ber ap­peal was ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of the month.

Af­ter de­ter­min­ing the level of fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment, the Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church would then work through other fund­ing op­tions.

In­cluded would be an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Pres­by­te­rian Synod of Otago and South­land. That al­lo­ca­tion of fund­ing would be de­ter­mined by the amount the Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church mem­bers put in, Mr Roy said.

If they reached the de­sired $3 mil­lion mark from its mem­bers, it was ex­pected fund­ing from the Synod would push the tally to close to half of the $8.6 mil­lion re­quired.

Mr Dunn ex­pected it would take un­til the end of 2019 to ap­ply and hear back from var­i­ous com­mu­nity fun­ders.

The church had al­ready put $104,000 to­wards the project through do­ing its due dili­gence.

A group of mem­bers also formed the Bourke Street Con­sor­tium to buy a $280,000 prop­erty in Bourke St which neigh­bours the Wind­sor Com­mu­nity Church.

The plan was that the house on the prop­erty would even­tu­ally be re­moved to make way for car park­ing.

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