Church land offer

THE Catholic church is offloading a large, prominent parcel of land to help fund the move of its administrative headquarters to Warragul.

The block of land opposite St Mary’s Cathedral is bordered by Foster and Pearson Sts and includes the church business office, a vacant block of land which is currently a car park, the bishop’s office, three units and an older house — a total land area of 4779 square metres in five titles.

The land will be sold either in one parcel or in individual lots, depending on interest.

Graham Chalmer Real Estate has invited tenders for the property which close on May 14 at 3pm.

Agent Chris Morrison said the properties had been advertised in Melbourne and locally for about four weeks and there had been about 20 enquiries from locals and others out of the area.

Enquiries had been made for the land as a whole, and also for individual titles.

“It’s a prime site for a commercial property,” he said.

It is understood the Hungry Jacks fast food chain is seeking a site in Sale, and has been for some years.

However Mr Morrison would not be drawn on whether it would be interested in this site.

Sale Diocesan business manager Jeff Davis said the church’s Warragul offices were currently being extended in preparation for the relocation of staff from Sale and the work was expected to be complete by May 30, with a scheduled July 6 moving date.

The Bishop’s office, Catholic Development Fund and media offices in Sale will relocate, as will the church’s Marriage Tribunal and Youth Ministry offices at Newborough.

Mr Davis said the move would mean all people who worked in the diocese would be situated at the one site.

“The cathedral will remain in Sale and a residence for the bishop and of course the presbytery.

“The bishop is quite mobile travelling throughout the diocese and is usually only here a short time each week anyway, so nothing is really going to change” he said.

Mr Davis said while Sale was the geographic heart of the huge diocese which stretches from Hallam to the New South Wales border, the demographic centre was west of Drouin.

When the move was announced in March last year Bishop Christopher Prowse said that while the plans might be a surprise to some, it had been a topic of discussion for many years.

His predecessor Bishop-Emeritus Jeremiah Coffey had planned to move to Warragul almost 20 years ago but abandoned the idea when at that time Sale was rocked by the move of the Esso-BHP offices to Melbourne and the collapse of the National Safety Council.

Mr Davis said Catholic Development Fund clients would continue to be able do business via the phone or internet.

“Some of the older clients do still like to come into the office and there will be some arrangement made for them,” he said.