Cape Breton group still waiting to purchase historic church
A group trying to purchase an historic landmark in Cape Breton say they're frustrated with how long the sale process is taking.
St. Alphonsus Church in Victoria Mines was slated to be demolished, but the Stone Church Restoration Society raised $40,000 to buy it from the Diocese of Antigonish. But that was more than a year ago.
“We are still in the same place that we were two years ago,” says Melanie Sampson of the Stone Church Restoration Society.“We raised the $40,000, we've never missed a deadline the diocese put on us, however we are still waiting. We still don't have full ownership yet, as sad as that is.”
Sampson says in August 2015, the restoration society agreed on a purchase price with the diocese, but has been waiting ever since.
“We've had $40,000 sitting in a bank account since last July, waiting for them to subdivide and migrate the land so that we could purchase it. Over a year is a long time to be waiting. It doesn't take that long,” Sampson says.
The diocese has said in the past that the sale would be a complicated process, saying there are two cemeteries on the property and the land needed to be subdivided, trying to be as respectful as possible to the families and former parishioners.
CTV News reached out to the Diocese of Antigonish on Thursday, but did not hear back by news time.
“Our lawyer has never received that purchase and sale agreement, even though it's been promised numerous times, even in writing that it would be sent over, but we haven't received it as of yet,” Sampson says
The Diocese of Antigonish closed this historic church in 2007, saying it needed more than $600,000 in repairs. It was in February 2014 that the Stone Church Restoration Society was formed to try and save the building from the wrecking ball.
Sampson says her group has missed out on two years’ worth of grant money because of delays and is now worried they may miss out on another big opportunity.
“We have a big contract with the military where they are going to come to our aid and provide 500 soldiers to come here in November to help replace the roof and the electrical, and the furnace, but we need the deed and be able to raise the money for the supplies,” says Sampson.
For now, all Sampson can do is wait and hope the deed is transferred into their name soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.