Three Springs church restoration estimated at $1.2 million as “hard decisions” to be made on its future
The future of Three Springs’ St Paul’s Catholic Church is still up in the air more than six months after the historic building was battered by ex-tropical cyclone Seroja.
No one is allowed to set foot inside the church and the surrounding area is fenced off due to fears the building could collapse.
To gage community sentiment on a rebuild, the Diocese of Geraldton and Catholic Parish of Three Springs recently held a consultation session to help decide the building’s fate.
Deputy Shire president Chris Connaughton, who is acting as a mediator between the council and the Church, said there were mixed emotions around the future of the circa-1958 structure.
“Some people are quite passionate about restoring it and other people think in all practicality it can’t be restored,” he said.
“We either meet somewhere in the middle or make a hard decision.”
Father Robert Cross from the Diocese of Geraldton told The Midwest Times a restoration would cost about $1.2 million.
“The regretful situation is the building has been poorly maintained over the years,” he said.
“The water from the roof has been draining into the foundations and that’s caused movement.”
Father Cross said the Diocese of Geraldton was leaving it up to the Three Springs Parish to decide whether a rebuild was worth it.
“My head says demolish but my heart says retain,” he said. “These places do have a significance in the community and beyond just the Catholic community. This is the place where many of them have been hatched, matched and dispatched.”
The Three Springs church was fully insured, according to Father Cross.
Cr Connaughton said the Shire would wait for a property report on the structure’s foundations before holding a town meeting.
“Lots of people have been married in that church, but the community dynamics have changed over the years,” he said.
“There aren’t as many people that go to church now as when I was a young fella.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails