Serbian Orthodox Church St Nicholas Woolloongabba

Old Church Site Redevelopment

Developments to Date (last update: 25/4/2019)

 

Contents

Briefing. 1

Town Hall Meeting Details (Facebook). 1

Article in City South News (21 Feb 2019). 1

Article in the South East Advertiser (21 Feb 2019). 1

Courier Mail Website. 1

Open Day and Town Hall in Pictures. 1

Town Hall Meeting Minutes. 1

Comments received in our guest book. 1

Plan view (proposed configuration)

Elevation view (proposed configuration). 1

Possible features (as explained at Town Hall meeting). 1

 

Briefing

Our parish was formed in 1955 and located permanently to Woolloongabba in 1974 after purchasing a former Methodist church at 6 Ross St.

The church was then modified in the mid to late 70s to more closely match an Orthodox place of worship. It was decided then to halt further modifications as it was deemed preferable to construct an entirely new church when finances would permit (one reason for example being that the old church is on a north south axis, whereas east west is preferable for an Orthodox Church).

Financial circumstances reached the desired state by 2000, so planning for a new church commenced. Construction began in 2003. The structure itself was largely complete by 2008, but decoration of the interior continued for 10 more years after that.

The new church was officially consecrated on 30 Sep 2018.

With the new church complete, we have a desire now to remove the old church from the site. However, in the interim, the old church was retrospectively heritage listed by the Brisbane City in 2002. This prevents our parish from completing the site in a way that would suit our current needs.

Our needs being: -

         To have only one church building (site is small, having 2 church buildings is crowded)

         To have enough space around the new church to carry out religious processions (currently restricted).

         For people to be able to congregate in front of the new church in a safe way (no overcrowding, no spill into the street).

         To have appropriate access for vehicles (especially for funerals and weddings etc).

         Complete the site in a way that is atheistically consistent with the new church.

Our preferred solution would involve: -

         Removing the old church from our site (relocate being the preferred option if another party is interested). This would free up space to solve our crowding issues.

         Landscaping with gardens, bench seats, water fountain etc in a way that will complement the buildings and enhance the streetscape.

         Construct a small memorial chapel that would include some components of the old church and/or plaques etc.

Removal of the old church is currently not possible due to its heritage listing. Our community has been planning to replace the old church for 40 years - the heritage listing took place without properly considering this.

Hence, we are seeking from the Brisbane City Council the lifting of the heritage status so that we may complete our long running intentions.

We understand that this may cause issues with setting precedent and/or triggering concerns with community groups, neighbours and so on.

Hence, we have recently been canvassing our plans with community for their comment. This included an open day and town hall meeting on 17 March 2019 co-hosted with Councillor Jonathan Sri to gauge sentiment.

To guarantee maximum public exposure would be attained, invitations to attend and comment were published via a number of channels (a month in advance of the event date):-

         Our social media (500+ followers)

         Councillor Sriís social media (15K+ followers)

         City South News (local paper, circulation 21K)

         South East Advertiser (local paper, circulation 67K)

         Courier Mail website

         Letterbox drop to nearest residential neighbours (nearest 30)

The event attracted interest from neighbours and other interested parties. Upon presenting our case, no one registered any objections (including Councillor Sri who supports our proposal).

Some documentation related to the meeting is included in the following sections: -

         Town Hall Meeting Details (Facebook) Co-hosted by our Parish and Councillor Sri

         Article in City South News (21 Feb 2019)

         Article in the South East Advertiser (21 Feb 2019)

         Courier Mail Website

         Open Day and Town Hall meeting in pictures

         Town hall meeting minutes

         Comments received in our guest book

Also, a drawing indicating what was hypothetically proposed in place of the removed, old church.

         Plan view (proposed configuration)

         Elevation view (proposed configuration)

         Possible features (as explained at Town Hall meeting)

As stated, this proposal met with no objections from those present at the townhall meeting.

We are now continuing our consultations with other Councillors on the Heritage Advisory Board and we also intend to conduct a paper-based survey of neighbours soon.

Weíll keep you posted on developments!

Town Hall Meeting Details (Facebook)


Article in City South News (21 Feb 2019)

 

Article in the South East Advertiser (21 Feb 2019)

 


 

Courier Mail Website

(donít have a paid account to show complete article Ė but can see it is the same as the local paper versions)

Open Day and Town Hall in Pictures

Tour guides are ready

Showing guests around

Showing guests around

Showing guests around

Town Hall meeting

Town Hall Meeting Minutes

Serbian Orthodox Church St Nicholas Woolloongabba

Town Hall - Minutes of Meeting

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Attendees: 16

4.05pm to 4.25pm: Presentation given by Peter Ilic (church committee representative) regarding the history of the old church and future direction. Emphasis was on discussing functional problems, namely lack of space around the church, as well as a proposed solution that involved removing the old church from the site and replacing with green space / better access and a memorial chapel of some sort.

4.25pm to 5.00pm: Discussion with attendees of town hall meeting, as per minutes below.

Speaker

 

Comment/Response

Name Unknown

(Local Resident)

The old church has been significantly modified. Heritage listings usually donít apply to modified churches.

Peter Ilic

(Spokesperson)

We believe the heritage listing was given because it still has sufficient visible features from its time as a Methodist church. The details of the heritage listing were read out to the attendees.

Councillor Sri

In order to remove the church, you will need to obtain approval for the local heritage listing to be removed and this requires local community support. We are interested in getting the communityís view on this. If the old church is removed, I would like to see more green space rather than some large new structure being built. We need more open space in this area. Is there a way that we can integrate the history of the Methodist church and their story into the new space?

David Bratchford

(Local Resident)

It would be preferable to relocate the existing structure, and have it preserved somewhere else.

Peter Ilic

(Spokesperson)

Agreed. If this does not eventuate, we could use some elements from the existing structure in the small chapel proposed, perhaps the stained-glass windows. There are still some original pews in the old church that we could keep.

Allan Goldsworthy

(Interested Community Member with Methodist links)

It would be sad to see the old church go but I can understand your perspective and your needs, given you now have a new church. How difficult would it be to remove the listing?

Councillor Sri

This church community is doing the right thing by reaching out to the general community to get their views. They are being good community citizens and donít want anything to happen in secret. It will be necessary to further discuss with Labor and Liberal council members as it will go to the Heritage Advisory Council.

Allan Goldsworthy

(Interested Community Member with Methodist links)

The condition of the building is such that it doesnít seem worthwhile preserving it and doesnít lend itself to keeping up with the maintenance.

Councillor Sri

To maintain the old church would be a huge cost for this not-for-profit community organisation. Additionally, they wouldnít get any funding from the govt to assist with this.

David Bratchford

(Local Resident)

Does it make a difference if the church can be relocated?

Councillor Sri

It does carry some weight.

David Bratchford

(Local Resident)

Does the nature of what is being proposed to be done at the site influence the ultimate decision as to whether heritage listing is removed?If a small chapel is proposed as opposed to a huge carpark then presumably there would be more of a chance that could bede-listed?

Councillor Sri

The local heritage overlay sets the rules. If, for example, they wanted to remove the structure, then they would need to establish how the heritage is being maintained. If they donít remove the heritage listing, then they will be very constrained. Further, I donít think we want a big structure here. I would be opposed to a big new structure such as townhouses etc. I want more green space in this area. With respect to the heritage issue, it should also be remembered that the Methodist community at the time considered this church surplus to their needs.

Marilyn Goldsworthy

(Interested Community Member with Methodist links)

Itís likely the Methodists sold it when they became part of the Uniting Church.

Gary Harch

(Anglican Canon)

Iíve been involved in closing about 20 churches over the years. There are always a few people opposed to it but donít want to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the structure if it was to be kept. I applaud what you want to do. Safety has to override heritage, and this is a clear example of this here. You want green space which is a win, a win for the whole community here. This is about functional heritage. If you canít afford to paint it and maintain it into the future, then it will just continue to deteriorate. We need more green space in because there is hardly any in this area at all.

Peter Ilic

(Spokesperson)

I would add that we are not proposing to remove the old church due to lack of attendance and our parish closing, itís due to the fact that we have built a new church that replaces it and we donít need 2 churches. We have limited land and the space occupied by the old church would best be used to deal with our crowding issues around the exterior. I certainly agree that there are some OHS and safety concerns at play here too due to the crowded nature of the site.

Name Unknown

(Local Resident)

If the council is not going to support these organisations to maintain these heritage buildings, then why should they insist on them keeping the heritage listing? It doesnít seem fair. There are many old buildings in regional country areas and no money is dedicated to maintaining them either.

Councillor Sri

If I support the position for this old church to be removed, what else do I need to consider?

Kate

(Local Resident)

I really appreciate being consulted about this as a member of the local community. I guess I just want to understand whether supporting the removal of this old church would set a precedent given whatís happening with the Broadway hotel.

Councillor Sri

I have thought a lot about this situation in comparison to Broadway. Generally, what happens with one building doesnít affect the others. It is considered on a case by case basis. There is not necessarily a lot of consistency. Here, the community have had their plans for a new church in place for a really long time, about 40 years, and they only got hit with the heritage listing in 2002. Broadway is different because that has been listed for a very long time, the developer bought it knowing it had a listing and got it cheap as a result. You can differentiate on this basis.

Marie-Clare Harch

Is there a special register for churches?

Councillor Sri

No, there is no distinction drawn.

Gary Harch

(Anglican Canon)

The heritage council is just interested in the building itself. The reality here is that itís unlikely you will find someone to take it away.

Name Unknown

(Local Resident)

Can it be relocated in the suburb so that it can be used as a community hall?

Councillor Sri

Council doesnít want any heritage listed buildings as they are too expensive to maintain and there is an issue with available sites in this area to move it to. I tried to get the Council to use a heritage listed building in Trinity Lane for something else but they didnít want it.

Gary Harch

(Anglican Canon)

They wouldnít want these buildings because they are old-fashioned and donít meet current safety requirements or for disabled access. You have a good case here to remove the listing for work health and safety issues.

Councillor Sri

What are your ideas if the old church was to be removed? I personally would like more green space and less concrete.

Gary Harch

(Anglican Canon)

The Holy Trinity church in the Valley is a really good example of how the site was redeveloped so that it looks more like a public space. I like the idea of the small chapel. I think it is good to build something small that matches the style of the new church.

Marie-Clare Harch

It is important that you signify this as holy ground.

David Bratchford

(Local Resident)

I am supportive of what Iíve heard today. Whatever is done needs to enhance the public realm. I would also like to see more green space like Jonathan, not just concrete. I can understand completely why the church community needs to do this.

Name Unknown

(Local Resident)

In terms of community, there is a lot of cynicism about green space. Does that mean just some trees along the sidewalk or giving the community some use of it. There are no parks in this area.

Peter Ilic

(Spokesperson)

Given we have only just completed construction of a new church, itís not likely that we are trying to trick the council into lifting the heritage listing so we can redevelop the site as units etc. Furthermore, unless we were to demolish the new church too, there is simply no room for any significant development. Logically, our proposal is the only thing that can be done on the space available. We would like to create something that enhances the area, hence this consultation

Councillor Sri

Overall, given the commitment to green space, Iím inclined to lend my support to the removal of the heritage listing. If you have any other ideas, please let us know.

 

Comments received in our guest book


Plan view (proposed configuration)

Entire site

Close up of area currently occupied by old church

Elevation view (proposed configuration)

 

Possible features (as explained at Town Hall meeting)

Benches, water fountains, stepped retaining wall for seating etc