Group pushes to designate shut-down Cumberland church a heritage site
The Cumberland United Church is listed for sale, but a group of advocates are pushing to get it designated as a heritage site so its rich history is preserved. Jan. 12, 2018. (CTV Vancouver Island)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 5:00PM PST
Volunteers in Cumberland have banded together to save a 19th century church that closed down late last year, saying it's too rich in history to be bulldozed.
The Cumberland United Church, built in 1895, remains standing but vacant after closing its doors in November 2017.
The church has been listed for sale through Colliers Canada with an asking price of $380,000, one of a handful of churches the company has listed across Canada.
But a group of residents wants to designate the building as a heritage site, ensuring future owners won't be able to demolish it to build something else on the property.
Meaghan Cursons, one of the people spearheading the campaign, says she's hopeful the church can be converted for other uses.
"There's a pipe organ behind me that travelled halfway around the world to land in a rough and tumble coal-mining town, and I think this building has another life in it," said Cursons.
"Some of us in the community, who have an interest in the ways that heritage and the history of the community are embedded in the walls of buildings, have an interest in seeing this building, which has been so much a part of Cumberland's working class history, is protected in perpetuity."
She said she hopes the building can turn into something like the former church in Courtenay now used for performing arts, or another church in Comox that is constantly used for community rentals.
The Cumberland group is hopeful whomever purchases the building will come up with a creative plan for the community's use.