Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Progress or regress?

Saving the historic Third Avenue United Church presents a sticky situation (SP May 2/12.) 

The public purse cannot contribute to religious organization.   The United Church presbytery does not want heritage designation on it, which would entitle it to heritage grants, because heritage designation  would also impede the value and sale of the building down the road should the need arise.  Understandably, their fiduciary duty is the the churchs' congregants, not the city.

Although it has been used by performing artists for concerts, arts groups have little or no money to step in and save the day. 

The province could jump in and declare it a heritage building, but it won't because politics and religion don't mix.

The heritage groups will impale themselves on the spires trying to save it, but unless a benefactor steps in this struggling congregation will eventually close the church,  and the building will be lost to a developer who will want to replace with a apartments or condos.

What a shame. 


  1. It's a bit different from many old buildings because it can actually generate revenue. The last two Jan lieseki concerts profited the group over $20k each, whereas yearly maintenance utilities insurance was only around $70k. The point is that someone can make this work financially if given a chance, once the congregation is gone. The info is on

  2. The Mistress says "Understandably, their fiduciary duty is the churchs' congregants, not the city." but it is the congregation who is trying to designate it. The congregation is being blocked by the church central committees. Its a tricky internal battle. The congregation say they have the right because they built and maintained the building over the years. They want to leave it as a legacy. The Presbytery believe they have the right because they are in charge of the big picture and if designation decreases the sale value, that is less money for their valuable programs.

  3. The CBC recently did a story about a cathedral in Montreal (I believe...somewhere in Quebec for sure) in a similar situation. However, rather than tear down the church, they converted it into condos. Folks, now live in the church building and the iconic building was saved...perhaps there's a forward thinking developer like that here in Saskatoon?

  4. Thank you for this post. I'm very glad to see others care about the future of this beautiful building. I hope those who can will whip out their wallets.- Brynn Harris.


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