October 12, 2017
by Dafyd Martindale
Kumbia residents can breathe a sigh of relief … the Peace Lutheran Church Hall is not going to be demolished after all.
However, it IS going to be moved – to the Sunshine Coast – to become a residence.
The confusion arose from the wording of a Development Application lodged with Council by the Peace Lutheran Congregation Kingaroy / Taabinga to “Remove and Demolish” the building.
However, “demolish” in this case referred to the foundations and utility connections of the former church hall, not the building itself.
And nothing was said on the floor of Wednesday’s Council meeting suggesting the building was being removed.
In fact, Council stipulated “photographic evidence of the hall shall be provided to Council for preservation purposes prior to the commencement and during the demolition” as a condition of the approval.
On Thursday, Mr Robin Unverzagt from the Lutheran congregation told southburnett.com.au the Kumbia group had reluctantly came to the conclusion the cost of maintaining the hall outweighed the benefits of owning it.
The hall had only been used on a handful of occasions over the past decade, and the group also feared it would soon need some major repairs.
Robin said the building’s foundations were cracking and the roof, eaves and ceiling of the hall’s supper room were lined with asbestos.
He said the group had been considering what to do with the hall for at least two years and had looked at all options, including relocating the building to near Kumbia’s Lutheran church.
However, the presence of asbestos in the hall made that possibility economically impractical.
Eventually the congregation had come to the conclusion the best option was to put it on the market, where it had sold “at a good price” and will now be used as a house on the Sunshine Coast in a development near the Ettamogah Pub.
A spokesperson for the South Burnett Regional Council said the Council had issued the development approval because there were no grounds on which it could reasonably refuse it.
The hall itself consists of two ex-Army buildings from Brisbane.
The cemetery, which is the main reason the site is listed in the South Burnett Local Heritage Register, will remain untouched.
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said on Thursday that once the hall was removed, no other building would be allowed to be built on the site.