United they stand
The plan to renovate and redevelop a well-known downtown church is on track to begin this spring.
Renovation work on Kamloops United Church, at Fourth Avenue and St. Paul Street, is expected to begin in April, with construction on a major housing project on the property to start later in the year.
Part of the plan is to renovate and shrink the size of current church.
Jennifer Keim, co-chair of the Kamloops United Church redevelopment committee, noted the renovation will mean less preschool and meeting room spaces in the church, along with smaller administration offices and hall.
She said the church decided to downsize due to economics and to keep with its philosophy of "good stewardship.
"I think the congregation has realized that in order to achieve all of our ministry goals, we have to look at all of our resources and potentially reallocating portions of them," Keim told KTW.
"We're going to try to provide all of the same great community support and programming in a much smaller footprint."
The church is also working with BC Housing to build a 61-unit complex of affordable housing on the same site.
The total development, which has been planned for seven years, is expected to cost $12.8 million.
The church has raised $900,000 from its congregation, but that amount could get a boost in the coming years.
Church members recently voted in favour of subdividing up to three one-hectare plots of land at Camp Grafton in the Shuswap, to help pay for the redevelopment.
The camp, which is located on Magna Bay and is about 18 hectares in total size, is operated by the Camp Grafton Society and owned by the church.
The camp was purchased more than a half-century ago by Dr. Hartley Grafton on behalf of the church.
The congregation voted 92-26 on Sunday, Feb. 26, in favour of selling off a portion of the land.
However, Keim noted it could still be quite some time before the properties hit the market, if even all three are sold.
She said the subdivision of the property still has to go through the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and internal church processes.
It's expected each chunk of land could be sold for amounts well into six figures.
As for the camp, Keim said it will continue to run as it has in the past.
For more information on Camp Grafton go online here.