Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. This page will be updated often. If you can’t find an answer here, please leave a comment on the blog or email us
Questions Asked by Congregation at Presentation by Task Force on Sunday October 31, 2010
How do we know that the return we get from rent and other fees will make the project viable?
Part of any proposal that the Task Force makes to the Parish will examine this fundamentally important question closely. We will make sure that we obtain expert advice from more than one source. These Evaluation Professionals are a key part of determining financially viable options. Parishioners will need to be satisfied that these options reflect Saint John’s financial situation.
What is the extent of the property we are looking to develop? Specifically, are the church building and rectory included in the plan?
Our church building is currently a centre piece of the development vision. It adds significant value to any plan because it is a beautiful space. All of the other buildings may be replaced, removed or altered significantly.
The groups we are targeting do not have any financial resources. How can it be viable to include them in the project?
While the not for profit community generally do not have large amounts of capital in the form of profit, they do pay rental fees in order to have adequate meeting spaces. We could only house NGOs that could contribute to the costs of the building on a basis that is both internally fair and generates revenue for St Johns to allow it to be sustainable.
Where is the marketing that shows there is a need for more meeting space?
This is the research in which we are currently involved. Evidence is currently anecdotal, obtained from our meetings with assorted groups and societies with extensive experience in these areas. The response that we are getting is that there is a lack of spaces geared to the needs of specific communities, with social service organizations and Not for Profits as examples of these. It is entirely likely that a mixed set of uses will provide the most viable solutions with office space, commercial and housing.
What successful projects have we looked at that may be models for our development?
There are no exact models as St Johns will be looking to a vision that fits the needs of our specific community, but we know of similar stories of success such as:
ACCESS Health Care Victoria’s integrated health center. The various agencies situated here have found the sharing of a building with like-minded organizations to have significantly enhanced their energy and service quality.
Mike Gidora Place a four-storey mixed-use development created by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, targeted to low-income urban singles.
The West Shore Child, Youth and Family Centre a 38,000 square foot facility home to twelve child, youth and family serving agencies.
It can also be noted that this is a vision grounded in our history when churches were the anchor and the center of the community, and the center of a cluster of housing and light commercial business.
Whatever the final decision(s) we are committed to making recommendations that will allow St Johns to continue to serve in the heart of Victoria. We also share a deep commitment to careful stewardship of resources and of the earth. We believe we can create more beautiful functional spaces which will delight many and engage those who share our mission.
What are our plans to include our immediate neighbours in the planning process?
We are aware that our neighbours may be interested in being involved in our process in some way. This involvement could be the contribution of ideas, inspirations, and experiential lessons, or something more physical. First Metropolitan attended the design charette in June and we plan to initiate contact with the Girl Guides in the near future.
Are we thinking too small? Should we be developing the entire block?
Developing a larger area than the current church property would likely involve significant delays due to financing and negotiating land purchases, and would thus outweigh any economy of scale. Such an extended development would also need to involve cooperation with the North Park Residents Association and the City. For the moment we are looking to our own land. However we are passionately committed to replicability and to ensuring that our ideas enhance the likelihood that others will be similarly inspired.
Who is liable if the project does not succeed?
The Task Force is currently studying different development scenarios in order to answer this important question.
Will the congregation have input on the organisations that are invited to be part of the development?
We acknowledge that the congregation has ceded only limited authority to the Redevelopment Task Force. The congregation will be consulted in major decisions that it wishes to be a part of.
What will happen to the people who live at the Court?
There are no immediate plans to change anything at the Court building. The building itself is structurally sound. One option may be to use a phased development process which would see any changes to the Court occurring a number of years from now rather than immediately. If the congregation decides at some future time to undertake redevelopment of the Court building, the Task Force believes that the parish will make care for the residents a very high priority during any transition.