From left, Minister Nick McLennan, church member Gary Caldwell, designer Floyd Thomas, church manager Roger Mackay and campaign chairman Brian Dangerfield.
After 160 years in Bertram Street, Warkworth, Mahurangi Presbyterian Church officials have unveiled plans for a new $10.5 million church and community centre on land near Mansel Drive.
A formal application for resource consent will be lodged with Auckland Council this month.
The project was initiated three years ago and has already raised $7.5 million from church donors, which includes the potential sale of the existing church property.
However, some community support will be needed to make the development a reality.
The church currently caters for almost 30 community initiatives, including multiple education programmes, support groups and the Foodlink distribution service.
Church minister Nick McLennan says the congregation of 550 has outgrown the original church building.
“On Sundays I run two services for over 250 people,” Nick says. “We can’t squeeze any more in and we need to prepare for future growth.”
Church members looked at expanding the original church, but it was not deemed viable. The group purchased a one-hectare site along the Mahurangi River, between Mitre 10 and Mahurangi College, 15 months ago for $1.6 million. Under the Unitary Plan, the site will be at the centre of new growth in Warkworth.
Designer Floyd Thomas says the site has been a major factor in the architectural plans for the 3000sqm building.
“The river and surrounding trees are beautiful,” Floyd says. “We have made sure people using the facility can make the best use of the outside area for picnics, and there is provision for a path to Mahurangi College.”
Campaign chairman Brian Dangerfield says the group has been working with Council’s recreation department, Rodney Local Board, and a variety of sports and community organisations to ascertain what facilities will be best utilised by the wider community.
“We have just allocated an additional $350,000 to increase the size of a multi-purpose sports court to accommodate a full size basketball court because there aren’t enough sports facilities for the growing number of young people in the area,” Brian says.
Meanwhile, the future of the existing church in Bertram Street, which was built in 1876 and is registered with Heritage New Zealand as a Category Two historic place, rests with the national Presbyterian Church Board of Trustees.
If it is sold, it could fetch around $2 million.
Work is expected to start in November with a completion date of April 2019.