Background to the proposal

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Proposal for the Lease of Part of the Killara Carpark

Part 1: An outline of the proposal
Part 2: FAQs
DOWNLOAD: At the end of this page you will find a link to download the full parish maintenance plan for 2015-2020.

Part 1: The Proposal:

* we have been advised that the sale value of the carpark in total would be at least $4.5 million. This makes it a highly underutilised parish facility, to say the least!

* the diocese is opposed to sale of parish real estate but would be open to long-term leasing of parish land. A very healthy annual rental could be forthcoming for the parish.

* in any plan being considered sufficient area would be retained for parish carparking.

* it goes without saying that no final decision would be made until the multitude of questions – legal, financial and otherwise – have been answered.

* the purpose of this proposal: with a more secure income for the parish to supplement our collection income we can address both the physical and spiritual needs of the parish. It is often commented that a Church has to attend to both mission and maintenance and a secure income would enable us both to maintain our two sites in the parish and to let us grow and expand our mission and ministries. Fundamentally the question boils down to whether we can afford to/justify retaining a $4.5 million dollar carpark, when a section of the carpark properly marked would satisfy our parking needs and the remainder could yield us as a parish the additional income that we need.

Fr Colin

Part 2: Responses to commonly asked questions:

Will sufficient parking be retained for Mass? Yes. A number of parishioners have expressed the concern that at present the carpark is often 'full'. While this might appear to be the case it is in fact not so. The present caraprk is not formally marked for parking and so cars can space themselves quite freely giving the impression of a 'full' carpark. In fact we have been conducting surveys of the number of cars parked for Mass for some months and the number rarely exceeds 25. We have had a plan drawn up which shows that the maximum number of cars which could be parked on the present caraprk (allowing for official standards of spacing etc). is 29. The committee is committed to ensuring that in any proposed development a minimum of 21 spaces will be available for parish use - a nett loss of only 8 spaces from the in-principle maximum, and only four less than the usual actual maximum.

Should we be looking at a bigger picture and even consider the closure and sale of the entire KIllara site? Such a proposal is not even being considered and Fr Colin has ruled out such a suggestion. The Killara community is an integral part of our parish and the retention of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church now and for the foreseeable future is a given.

Would the lease of the carpark prevent the closure/sale of the church at a future time if changing demographics/Mass attendance etc necessitated that? Not at all. The site at Killara covers six Lots. The carpark occupies three lots and the church and presbytery cover another three lots. There would be nothing to prevent the future sale of that portion of the site not involved in the proposed lease. Furthermore there would be nothing to prevent the sale of the remaining lots along with the leasehold arrangement. We are not burning any bridges if we enter into this lease arrangement.

Is this good stewardship? Are we alienating a parish resource? We might reverse that question and ask whether it is good stewardship to retain the present carpark? The carpark covers three Lots and has been valued at $4.5 million. To retain a vast expanse of bitumen at that value is perhaps not good stewardship when we could still provide for the church's parking needs and yield a healthy and stable income for the parish. This income could help us both to maintain the remaining parish facilities and develop our life and ministries as a Christian community. The alternative is maintain an inefficiently utilised tarmac and see our existing facilities deteriorate due to lack of funds. A parallel might be found In David Jones' decision to utilise funds raised from one asset to improve and develop the remaining assets for the good of the overall enterprise.

Could we look at other ways of raising income that would not involve the lease of the carpark? The process so far has been guided by a superb committee of hard-working parishioners - drawn from both the KIllara and Lindfield communities in the parish. We are blessed to have on our committee a range of professional people who have put their services at the disposal of the parish. They have done an enormous amount of work and research, including in-depth investigations as to the possibility of a childcare centre or an aged care facility or affordable housing making use of part of our site.

With the diocese's assistance we have also embarked upon on a best-use best-outcome study (through engaging a professional firm) to guide us in the decision of who we should enter into partnership with. This is in response to requests at the Parish Forums in February 2016 that we undertake such a study.

Why do we need this additional income stream? The costs of operating our parish, maintaining its facilities, and providing its ministries and services increase each year. Our income collection however does not increase in the same proportion. Furthermore our physical facilities age with the passing of years and the need for a systematic maintenance plan - with the funds to support it - grows ever more necessary. As the document below shows we currently need to spend $100,000 per year each year over a 10 year period just to deal with the existing maintenance issues. It is not simply a matter of us 'breaking even' every year - we need a 'future' fund that allows for the implementation of a regular maintenance plan. How do we plan for the multitude of maintenance issues - both routine and urgent - that continue to arise? Both of our church sites will continue to make demands on our funds, as we all know from our home maintenance experiences.

In addition we don't only want to maintain buildings. A healthy parish income will help us to be what we're meant to be: a dynamic community ministering in Christ's name. Youth ministry, pastoral care, senior's ministry and so much more would benefit from us having sufficient funds to develop and support them.

Click here for the 2015-20 parish maintenance plan which highlights the urgent need we have to generate more parish income.