THE owner of a former Catholic College says his organisation had every intention of developing the site.
Less than two years after buying the old Marian College property in Clinton St, Catholic Mission has called for expressions of interest in its sale.
The 12,600 square metre site is expected to fetch $1 million to $2m, well above the original $600,000 sale price.
The organisation’s finance and human resources manager, Walter Dinale said on Friday a decision on the successful tender was likely to be made this week.
But he rejected suggestions Catholic Mission wanted to make a quick profit.
“The Sisters of Mercy approached us to buy the site and at that time it looked like we’d be able to do something educational there, but it fell through,” Mr Dinale said.
He declined to elaborate in detail but said it related to education of young Catholics, complete with residential accommodation.
Subsequently, agents also approached the University of Canberra on Catholic Mission’s behalf, but it was not interested.
Mr Dinale said it was unfair to suggest his organisation never wanted to develop the complex, which contains significant heritage buildings.
The Sisters’ offered the property for $600,000 on the proviso it was developed for educational purposes.
It came after they had evaluated the site’s suitability for aged care and found it unsuitable, Mr Dinale said.
“Most if not all religious orders in Australia have sold property in recent years to provide for their very ageing population of Sisters who have no superannuation or other support,” he told the Post.
“Catholic Mission was sold the property at a reduced price so that as well as this use, there would be a benefit for people in need overseas and for our educational work in Australia.
“As such we have a moral responsibility to uphold the wishes of the Sisters as supporters and the needs of people in great poverty.
At the same time we have been working for a positive outcome for Goulburn.”
While he was not working with Catholic Mission at the time, Mr Dinale conceded it was “a good price.”
Parishioners are angry about the sale, saying any control over its original educational intent is now lost. In addition, Mary Queen of Apostles parish property supervisor Brian Watchirs argued the school should have been returned to the Diocese, its original owners.