Oaklands residents abandon church purchase

Victoria neighbourhood group changes mind due to high cost of initiative

After a rush to raise funds to purchase a church hall, the Oaklands Community Association has abandoned the idea.

The association has withdrawn its offer to purchase the former St. Alban’s, home to the Lansdowne Co-operative Preschool. The church and hall were recently sold by the Anglican Diocese of B.C. to a private developer.

Upon learning of the community’s interest, the new owner agreed to sell the building for $1.1 million.

Initially, the community was hopeful and started taking pledges for a type of community-investment fund. After doing more detailed research, however, the board of directors decided against the purchase.

“This decision was based on the changing circumstances, such as the church being rendered non-rentable, even for the temporary time; the $132,000 HST costs of purchasing from the developer, the $200,000 costs to repair the hall, and the additional thousands of dollars to fix the church,” association president Ben Clark wrote in a letter to members.

The decision means the parent-run preschool is once again on the hunt for a new location.

rholmen@vicnews.com