Queens Park church hopes to keep costs from rising

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Canning could offer a Queens Park church financial relief as it plots to sell off the site of the church for development.

The council has been recommended to slash Hope City Church’s annual rent paid by 90 per cent, backdate the change to November 2018 and write off more than $26,000 in rent accrued by the church since November.

The church currently pays a commercial rate of rent of nearly $65,000 per year and wants a new deal in line with what other community organisations pay to use council-owned buildings.

Hope City Church reverend Pat Gullaci said they had not initially been aware of the difference between commercial and community buildings when it took on the former Queens Park Library.

He said the church discovered similar community groups were paying much less rent and while the building itself had serious issues in regards to electrical faults and water leakage, the City-provided maintenance had dropped off.

They have asked for a three year fixed-term lease, with a six-month notice period prior to vacating the premises after twice writing to the City requesting a rent reduction, a further fixed-term tenancy and maintenance works.

However, with the City keen to kick-start plans to develop the site and open up expressions of interest in the near future, the church’s hopes for a long-term lease appear slim.

Instead, the City has recommended the existing month-to-month holding over arrangements continue.

The church initially agreed to lease the Queens Park venue in 2013 for three years at $54,000 per annum and then renewed for an extra two years with a slightly higher rent in June 2016.

This lease has been on a month-to-month holding over since it lapsed in June.

A council report noted the church responded to an advertisement to lease the former library at commercial rates and the City had made clear at the time there was no intention of leasing the building for community purposes.

Council will consider the recommendation at Tuesday’s council meeting.