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Community Discussion on Facility Use November 17, 2019

Pastor Steve opened the meeting stating that the Board asked for a meeting to consult with the congregation.

Steve noted two main objectives of the meeting: to share info about the use of our facility/parking lot and answer questions AND to share info about major repairs and gauge interest in replacement/renovation/redevelopment.

It was noted that this is not an official congregational meeting, so there would be no motions to spend money. The meeting’s aim is to share information/answer questions/solicit feedback. Megan Jowsey took notes.

Beginning with the first question Pastor Steve observed that our facility/parking lot is getting more use this fall. Board Chair, Neil MacDonald, shared that the parking lot space is being rented out for about thirty months to a company involved in the hospital construction and is earning the church $10k/year. Neil noted that it would cost considerable money to provide proper drainage for the parking lot. Neil shared that the YMCA is running an afterschool program in the lower hall and that the contract is set for one year and is renewable.

In the following question and answer, it was noted that the YMCA afterschool program would have been shuttered if we didn’t offer the space. It was noted that it is a licenced program for up to 30 children in grades 1 to 6. The YMCA operates weekday afternoons between 2:30-5:30 and for full days on school professional development days and some holidays. They are an active program and are frequently not actually in the facility but at the YMCA swimming pool or in the adjacent park. Congregational members would be able to access the space (i.e. if something needed to be picked up from the kitchen) during operating hours, but should introduce themselves to the YMCA staff. Accommodations will be made for the music festival use and could foreseeably be made to accommodate any church funerals/receptions. The women’s bible study expressed an interest in connecting with the program and Neil suggested that he could discuss this with the coordinator. After sufficient discussion, it was decided to move to the second question.

Pastor Steve read through a list of Board projects and anticipated costs associated with them. The total figure for all repairs amounts to $100-150k. Steve provided background noting that the Session asked the Board for estimates of necessary church repairs, and the Board asked Session for direction. The question that such extensive repairs raise is whether we should be doing more than replacing worn parts of the facility and be pursuing renovations/redevelopment in line with current needs.

In the course of the discussion, it was noted that many congregations have pursued redevelopment where they give up some space and end up sharing space. It was noted that our facility it oversized for the present congregation and lacks a necessary foyer. Some expressed interest in redevelopment while others felt we should tackle the current list of projects It was asked whether or not we have money for our current list of projects and was noted that we have maybe $50k. In terms of redevelopment, it was noted that Presbytery/Synod have funds that could go towards a project or secure low-cost loans.

Questions were asked about the need for major projects, and it was noted that some parts of the facility are beyond repair and need replacement. Any major renovations would likely require the congregation to be relocated for the duration of the work. Other observations included the fact that projects always cost more than anticipated and the land-value of the church property will continue to increase. It was noted that making the space more multi-purpose would be desirable. It was also noted that having great acoustics and accessible parking make our church a desirable location for community functions.

 Max Simons volunteered to head up an ad-hoc committee to look at the possibilities. As there were no other volunteers the group was encouraged to continue to think about these issues and consider whether they are called to serve in this way. Keith Boughton closed the meeting with prayer at 11:50.