© Jennifer Hoegg - Kingscountynews.ca
By Wendy Elliott
Of six United Church properties in eastern Kings County for sale since March 13, three now have tentative buyers.
There are offers on Trinity United Church in Upper Canard, Greenwich United Church and St. Stephen and St. Paul Church in Kentville, Harvey Gilmour said last week.
Speaking on behalf of the trustees of Orchard Valley United Pastoral Charge, Gilmour said change began to roll out with the sale of the United Church in Canning, which merged with Canard three years ago.
Five local churches then amalgamated into Orchard Valley in July 2012.
The Covenanter Church in Grand Pre, which is more than 200 years old, was part of the package.
Gilmour noted the two cemeteries included in the merger were successfully turned over to community societies.
Some legal issues around the sale of two of the churches have caused delays. According to Gilmour, very old provisions around the use of the properties in Canard and Greenwich for religious or worship purposes have required the engagement of a legal firm. Trinity United is also located in an agricultural zone.
There is an option on the Kentville church by Duke Investments, he said, which represents a community-led group. According to the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks, Kentville’s Bill Denyar is the president of Duke Investments.
“That’s been accepted by the church, but they have to come up with the right plan and financing,” Gilmour said.
He called the Kentville and Wolfville churches magnificent structures right in the middle of the two towns.
“All of us should be interested in their future,” Gilmour said. “They are not buildings that should be torn down. But it takes creative thinking to re-use buildings. They are community assets. We’ll have to see how it spins out.
An independent school in Wolfville has expressed an interest in the church there. The New Booker School already rents the manse.
“There have been no formal offers on the New Minas church,” Gilmour said, “and the Covenanter was never part of the plan. So no outright sales yet, but there are three in different stages of the process.”
The congregation is currently using the New Minas church for worship.
Halifax firm of NAI Turner Drake and Partners Ltd. Commercial Real Estate Services represents the Orchard Valley Pastoral Charge in marketing the six properties.