A winning bidder was announced for the tax sale on the old church building at 14 White Church Road in Faraday Township at the Faraday council meeting on June 1. The highest bidders were Chris and Melissa Routley with a bid of $33,314.98. Dawn Switzer, the clerk and treasurer, told council that if the Routleys don’t fulfill the bid within 14 business days, the township will go on to the next highest bidder on the list. By June 8, Switzer said it looked like the Routleys will be acquiring the property.
Switzer told council about the results of the tax sales bids as part of her clerk’s report during the June 1 meeting.
“I did get in the results of the bids that came in on the tax sale for 14 White Church Road. So, the lawyer has been sent all the information. The successful bidder has been sent an email to tell them they have 14 days to pay the balance of their bid. And if that bid’s not paid for in 14 days, I’ll go to the second highest bid and they’ll be given the same courtesy,” she says.
The old church building at 14 White Church Road is a former church that was later turned into a library. It was posted on Facebook’s Bancroft and Area History page on April 25 by Dan Kehoe as an historic building now facing a tax sale. It was built in 1894, and was originally a Methodist and later a United church. Rathburn Lumber donated the land for the church back in the late 19th century and that all the lumber to build the church had been donated by John Tinney, although it was later established that this was no direct relation to Councillor Carl Tinney. According to Switzer, the United Church sold it in 1970 to the board of trustees for the Lower Faraday Community Centre for $5. The building has not been a church since 1970, and while churches are tax exempt, when members of the public inquired about the property in 2017, it was revealed that it was no longer serving as a church, so it became taxable.
The last known owner was the aforementioned board of trustees, care of Coe Hill resident Marilyn Peacock. However, Ms. Peacock passed away in 2013, and the first tax bill was sent out in 2017, according to Dave Eakins, a concerned resident who gave a presentation with fellow resident Terry Campbell to council on the historic value of the old church building at the May council meeting. However, due to some misunderstandings, the tax situation was never resolved regarding who exactly was responsible for paying said taxes, and it ended up on the block for the tax sale. Unfortunately, Eakin’s and Campbell’s presentation to council at the May 4 meeting failed to sway the majority of council, and the property remained on the block for the tax sale.
The sealed bids on the tax sale were opened up on May 25 by Mayor Dennis Purcell, Switzer, office assistant Sarah Jenkins and chief building official Scott Richardson. The bids put forth were as follows; Chris and Melissa Routley with $33,314.98, Semco Salehi with $28,500, Kelly Millman with $27,151, Andy Sobon with $25,555, Kevin and Angela Moore with $20,000, Sandra McGrath with $17,169.75, Cindy Tyrell with $12,165 and Allan Buitendag and Michael White with $10,022.
Switzer told The Bancroft Times on June 8 that to her knowledge, the successful bidder is going to be paying the balance of their bid and that the township’s legal counsel will proceed with the transferring of the deed to the Routleys.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times