AN ICONIC church that has stood since 1913 will be demolished to make way for a new chapel and preschool expansion.
St Luke’s Anglican Church, on the corner of Docker and Shaw streets, is currently only used once a week for a Sunday morning church service.
Rector David Ruthven said the community’s need for an “accessible” multi-purpose complex was growing.
“We’re finding that as a church these days we can’t really afford to have a church building that is only used for about an hour a week,” he said.
St Luke’s and St Mary’s are two preschools where the demand is increasing and the current spaces can no longer accommodate this growing community group.
“I think we’ve found with our preschools, and the case with most in the city at the moment, is that they are becoming a lot more affordable for families,” Mr Ruthven said.
“We’ve got a substantial waiting list and we really feel the need to be able to expand our preschool, so that we can cater for the families that have a need and it’s a great location, opposite the hospital.”
Mr Ruthven said the Anglican congregation has been meeting for over a year to create a space which benefits and caters for the whole community.
“We’ve also got a lot of senior residents in our congregation and access is a problem with the older buildings as they were built in a day where there wasn’t any provision for disabled people,” he said.
“We’re building a chapel and expanding the hall that fits in with the needs we have today.”
The new development will include heating and cooling, which aren’t available at the site, as well as offer spaces for community groups.
Mr Ruthven said the application has recognised the “historical aspects” of the church building, with the stain glass windows and other “beautiful features”, such as the alter, to be transferred over to the new building.
The warden at St Luke’s Church, Bede Mecham, has been a part of the Anglican congregation for over 36 years and said the new alter will be built out of bricks from the existing church.
“We’ll still have a bit of the atmosphere at the new building to what we’ve got at the moment,” Mr Mecham said.
Mr Ruthven said a lot of “homework” has gone into the application, in the hopes that any problems that may arise from this submission have been dealt with.