Council buys church site

Georges River Council has placed a compulsory acquisition order on the Hurstville Baptist Church in Dora Street.

Making way: Some of the congregation of the Connect Church who currently use the Hurstville Baptist Church. Picture: John Veage

Making way: Some of the congregation of the Connect Church who currently use the Hurstville Baptist Church. Picture: John Veage

The church leaders say they only discovered on September 15 that the compulsory acquisition order for the church building at 2-4 Dora Street had been signed on August 31.

Going: Georges River Council has decided to buy the old Hurstville Baptist Church which has been operating since 1936.

Going: Georges River Council has decided to buy the old Hurstville Baptist Church which has been operating since 1936.

The church is now seeking to overturn the compulsory acquisition order to build its own project, a multi-storey building with a new church, community centre and regional centre for the South Sydney Baptist church.

Georges River Council administrator John Rayner said last week the former Hurstville Council resolved to acquire the Hurstville Baptist Church in 2008 and negotiations have been going on for years.

But church spokesman Matt Hogg said the church did not know that a resolution to acquire the land had been passed by the council,

“We knew only recently that a resolution was passed.

“If they had told us in 2008 that they wanted to acquire the land we would not have worked with developers to develop the site,” Mr Hogg said.

Civic heart: An artist impression of the proposed Hurstville civic precinct which includes the Hurstville Baptist Church building in Dora Street.

Civic heart: An artist impression of the proposed Hurstville civic precinct which includes the Hurstville Baptist Church building in Dora Street.

Mr Rayner said that the site is essential to deliver the Hurstville Civic Precinct Master Plan. 

“Negotiations with the Hurstville Baptist Church over many years were unsuccessful,” he said.

“The former Hurstville Council was left no option but to commence the compulsory acquisition process.”

Mr Rayner said during negotiations, Georges River Council sought to find an alternative suitable location within the Hurstville CBD as part of a proposed land swap arrangement.

“Unfortunately, while the council attempted to facilitate a land swamp, the parties were unable to agree on a value as the offer put forward by the Hurstville Baptist Church did not provide value for money for ratepayers.”

Mr Hogg said when the council raised the possibility of a land swap with 15 Dora Street the church paused its planning proposal for its site while land swap matter is being pursued.

“The council made an offer for a  land swap with additional cost of $3.5 million for 15 Dora Street. The church sent a counter offer for land swap with additional cost of $3 million owed by council,” he said.

“The council informed the church in August that no negotiations would be entered into regarding 15 Dora Street and said the matter had proceeded to State Government for approval of Compulsory Acquisition.

“They are trying to get the land at the cheapest possible price.

“We are not after top dollar but a sensible amount that will help us to continue to provide the church service in Hurstville that we have done since 1936.”

Going: Georges River Council has decided to buy the old Hurstville Baptist Church which has been operating since 1936.

Going: Georges River Council has decided to buy the old Hurstville Baptist Church which has been operating since 1936.

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