February 12, 2013 - 4:49pmUpdated: February 13, 2013 - 2:23am
St. George's Parish Hall in Saskatoon on Feb. 12, 2012. Karin Yeske/News Talk Radio
After some debate at city council, the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon has secured a rezoning agreement for the repurposing of St. George’s Parish located at 1202-1236 20th St. W.
“We’re going to repurpose the building into a non-profit space; we’re working with READ Saskatoon and trying to build a learning commons centre and early development centre,” said Curtis Kimpton from the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon.
Kimpton said the Kinsemen Club is looking to repurpose the parish and turn it into a three-storey building that will house a daycare centre, administration offices for non-profit organizations and provide classroom space for early education.
During Monday’s debate in council, Councillor Pat Lorje expressed her disapproval for the project, noting that in a vote that took place in February 2012, Sixty-two couple voted not to sell, while only two couples voted to sell.
“It was an over-whelming majority of St. George’s parishioners wanted to keep the hall,” said Coun. Lorje.
However, the church council wanted to move ahead with the sale, despite the results of the vote.
Parish council president Mike Luczka said during council that it was he who approached the Kinsmen Club about St. George’s Parish and they have been working together for the past year to secure a $1.2 million-dollar deal to take over the hall.
Luczka added, had the deal not gone through, the Parish would be up for sale in a year, because inevitably his council cannot financially keep this hall.
“It is too much of a burden, our parish is just too small,” said
Kimpton said getting approval from council was just step one. Now his club will look to raise between $8 to $9 million in capital to fund the construction inside the parish and to improve parking along Avenue M and on site.
“We will have to overhaul the electrical and plumbing, re-do the whole boiler system and then build an addition floor across where the gymnasium is,” said Kimpton.
“The biggest benefit for the area and the entire community is the fact that when we look at opening a childcare centre with 70 to 80 kids, there are huge waiting lists in this area for children and childcare spaces.”