GSC vote to develop office site

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Doonside, New South Wales

The Greater Sydney Conference (GSC), during a special constituency meeting on Father’s Day, September 6, voted to proceed with plans to redevelop the Epping conference office site.

. . . we have the potential to unlock a significant portion of the value of the site to further enhance the mission of the Church.

More than 300 delegates gathered in the Mountain View Adventist College auditorium to vote on the future of the conference office site. The area the conference is situated in, right next to Epping train station, was rezoned in March 2014, and the conference decided to explore its options on the property.

“As a result of the rezoning of the Conference Office site, we have the potential to unlock a significant portion of the value of the site to further enhance the mission of the Church,” writes Pastor Michael Worker, president of the Greater Sydney Conference, in the booklet handed to delegates. “We also want to keep developing relevant resources and initiatives to expand God’s kingdom in this city.”

Delegates at the special constituency meeting held at Mountain View Adventist College auditorium on Sunday, September 6. [Photo courtesy: Lyna Stackelroth]

The proposed plan will see two bottom floors developed as the conference office and Adventist Book Centre, with 72 residential units above that. The office space would be 1450m2, with 200m2 retail and warehousing and 40-50 car parks. It is projected the development would provide around $8 million, which the GSC would invest to use the interest as extra income.

The current conference office required a new roof and other renovations, according to GSC CFO Eva Ing, and would have been a large cost to the GSC without providing anything extra.

For these reasons, after the August 2014 constituency meeting,* GSC appointed Augusta Properties, an independent property and development advisor, to assist them in their investigations.

Four options were initially explored: stay and develop themselves or develop with neighbours, and leave and develop themselves or with their neighbours.

Option 1, stay and develop on their own, was the recommendation that was made to the special constituency meeting and it passed by a majority, although not without some debate.

In summary, the motion was to redevelop the conference office independently, and to invest the money for the mission of the Church.

Two amendments were made to the initial wording before the motion passed.

The first addressed what the interest made on the profits from the development would be spent on. Delegates argued that it should be less specific than “pastoral staff and Bible workers,” and so removed some wording to make it more generally supporting the mission of the Church.

The second amendment was voted through which suggested more people be added to the Real Estate Committee—people with skills and expertise in the appropriate areas.

Australian Union Conference president Pastor Chester Stanley shares a devotional at the special constituency meeting.

The redevelopment plan is scheduled to take until June 2019. Until then, GSC would need to relocate their office temporarily to a secondary site.

“With these additional funds, we will be able to address a number of key strategic objectives of the Conference in order to preach the gospel and tell of Jesus soon coming to this city more effectively,” said Pastor Worker.

Pastor Chester Stanley, president of the Australian Union Conference, took the morning devotional, and encouraged Sydney’s Adventists to continue sharing the Adventist message, not to bow to peer pressure and to remember where the Lord has led them in the past. 

*In August 2014, the following motion was passed:

“To authorise the Executive Committee to actively investigate the options available to maximise their available resources and THAT should there be a recommendation to redevelop or relocate, recommendations to be presented to a Constituency Meeting at the time.”