Community group forced to find a new home

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

A community group which provides burial clothes for grieving families who have lost infants is set to lose its home after the Shire of Gnowangerup agreed to sell its headquarters in Ongerup.

Angel WA Sisters, which takes second-hand wedding dresses and suits, then deconstructs and transforms them into burial attire, has been leasing the old Ongerup Police Station from the Shire for the peppercorn rate of $1 a year since 2015.

At its May council meeting, the Shire unanimously agreed to accept an offer of $12,000 to buy the property from the Department of Lands with the plan of on-selling the property.

It was also agreed to obtain a valuation and on-sell the property, while advising Angel Sisters WA its lease would expire at the end of August.

Shire of Gnowangerup chief executive Shelley Pike said there had been interest in the building being turned into a residence and the Shire was looking for ways to reduce its present requirement of managing and maintaining its 73 buildings.

“It is not sustainable to continue to manage that building,” she said.

“The Angels are aware it was going to be sold and they had expressed they might like to buy it.”

However, Angel WA Sisters founder Tracy Swalwell said the not-for-profit group was not in a position to buy the property and had started packing up after receiving the news of the lease expiring and pending sale.

“I would love to buy it, but we just don’t have the funds,” she said.

“We could be out in 30 days, so we have started packing up as it’s going to take more than 30 days.

Ms Swalwell said the group was seeking donations from tradesmen to rebuild an old shed owned by her brother-in-law which was identified as a potential storage solution.

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