WATCH ABOVE: It’s a 105-year-old Edmonton building holding on by a wing and a prayer. Vinesh Pratap has more on the push to save McDougall United Church.
EDMONTON — While the cost of repairing a 105-year-old Edmonton church has climbed, there still seems to be one last attempt to save it.
On Tuesday, Edmonton councillors decided the city will work with McDougall United Church to try to come up with a solution.
“I think a long-term solution for this building is going to have to include some other partners from the community: arts organizations, philantropists, the province,” said Mayor Don Iveson.
“This is going to be all hands on deck.”
“The scale of this building’s immediate costs and long-term sustainability and operating costs is beyond the City of Edmonton to carry alone,” Iveson explained.
Tuesday, a motion was put forward that a committee be struck to bring together key stakeholders and return with possible solutions later this year.
Last week, a city report showed the cost of repairing the downtown church had more than doubled from a previous estimate. The bill is now pegged at between $18.4 million and $25.5 million.
It’s a price tag the church’s congregation of about 140 people says they cannot pay and the building could be demolished if it can’t be saved.
The congregation asked the city to step in to help, but councillors say they can’t justify spending several millions.
The church, which dates back to 1910, was the original home of the Edmonton Opera.
Church members previously considered seeking official historical designation, but decided against it.
“The city has a designation of historical status,” said Greg Greenough, a board chair with McDougall. “They will give you that in return for certain monies, but the obligation of that is they put a caveat on your title,” he explained. “The church has chosen … that wouldn’t be in their advantage.”