Dire financial situation of the parish and seeking a remedy

The parish is in a dire financial situation. The essential repair and maintenance costs that need to be carried out on the old buildings and grounds of the parish exceed the current capital of the parish. The parish’s expenses exceeded its income by $60,000 last financial year. A similar loss is expected to be repeated in the current financial year and it will keep on repeating into the future unless a sustainable remedy is found.

Some hard decisions need to be made to ensure the existential future of the parish. Hard decisions usually are accompanied by changes, which can be very upsetting to the life of the local community.

In seeking to remedy this dire financial situation the limited resources of the parish are being assessed to enable continued optimal support of its significant outreach to the community. The former school building is part of that assessment, with the café the only tenant currently occupying a corner of that building.

The Parish has a longstanding tradition in providing spiritual, liturgical, and sacramental renewal, along with charitable care, to the local faith community and beyond. The latter is done through a focused and extensive outreach to the vulnerable.

The Parish’s ability to continue its missional endeavour and outreach is at risk due to a diminishing financial position, coupled with rising costs in maintaining its heritage listed buildings.

In planning for the future, responsible management would ideally see the parish secure a long term, single tenant that will allow us to realise the full potential of the assets.

This will provide a more stable income for the parish community and those they serve.

It will be most important to retain a community space for parish use such as social gatherings, cultural activities, and other events.

The Parish Priest has met with the Tenant of the Café on several occasions over an extended period of time to communicate the Parish’s long-term plan for this site. The Parish Priest first informed the Tenant in September of 2021 that the lease would not be renewed, thereby providing sufficient time for the Tenant to secure an alternative premise for its business.

After the 19th of September, when the lease of the Café expires, essential repair and maintenance work will begin on the roof of the two-story section of the ‘old school’. The box gutters and ridge capping will be replaced, new rain heads will be fitted where required, and damaged slates will be replaced. To make full use of the scaffolding, painting of the facades will also be done. The two-story section of the ‘old school’ will be closed off as a worksite for up to six weeks, longer if it rains.

In an attempt to work through this dire financial situation in which the parish finds itself, a master plan for the parish will be developed with the assistance of the Property and Infrastructure Office of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Fr Gary Devery OFM Cap
Parish Priest
27 August 2022