NS diocese concerned heritage status could affect sale of church

LINGAN, N.S. – A Roman Catholic diocese in Nova Scotia says it’s concerned one of its churches that could be listed for sale may be designated a municipal heritage property.

Cape Breton regional council approved first reading to register St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Lingan as a property with historical significance to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The parish is one of the oldest in Nova Scotia, forming in 1723.

Rev. Donald MacGillivray of the Diocese of Antigonish says all unused churches, glebe houses and other land need to be free of hindrances that may make a possible sale difficult.

In correspondence with the municipality dating back to 2010, Bishop Brian Dunn said all properties of the diocese were needed as security for the required payments of a $18-million class action lawsuit of victims alleging sexual abuse by priests dating back to 1950.

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Municipal policy says any owner wanting to demolish or make exterior changes to a heritage property must submit an application to the heritage officer for approval.