Residents of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's will not be voting on the fate of their old Anglican church during the 2013 elections on Sept. 24 after all.

Town councillors had voted earlier this week to include a question on a separate ballot — on whether or not to demolish the church, which was built in 1894.

However, the Municipal Affairs department said a vote by two-thirds of council was necessary.

The vote was four to three.

The old church has been a source of controversy for several years.

Anglican church leaders want to tear down the structure and use the land to expand a neighbouring graveyard. A local committee has been fighting for years to preserve the historic building.

The steeple was sawed off in March 2010, adding fuel to a bitter feud that has divided the community.