One of Thunder Bay's oldest churches wants to tear down the house that was built for its minister 100 years ago.

The Trinity United church manse on Algoma Street at Park Avenue is listed on the city's heritage registry, but the church says it's too costly to maintain.

The church is applying to demolish the century-old building.

Trinity council chair Shane Judge said the building hasn't served as a minister's home for about 20 years. It needs a lot of work that the church can’t afford to pay for.

"Because the priority of the church community at Trinity is to maintain the big, large beautiful - what we consider the real heritage building on the property - there just has not been the resources given our aging and declining membership."

Judge said a leaky roof contributed to the problem.

“There are at least three points on the roof where there is some significant leakage in the building,” he said.

“And because the leaks have been long-standing, they … have affected the upper part of the structure with water damage.”

Because the manse is on the heritage registry, city council has to approve its demolition. Judge said the church has written a letter to council to make that request. Council is expected to ask administration and the heritage advisory committee for its recommendations next week.

Rare request

City archivist Matt Szybalski said requests like this are rare.

“This is the first time we've — in my tenure on the committee, which is about four or five years now — that we've ever had an application for a for a designated building to come down.”

Judge said historic items like stained-glass windows will be salvaged if the church gets the go-ahead to knock the manse down.

'The building has deteriorated to the point where it's become a serious liability.' - Trinity council chair Shane Judge.

"If we did try to bring it up to code, the costs would just mount, as anybody who's dealt with an old house in Thunder Bay would know. The costs become astronomical."

A tenant is currently living in the manse.

"The building has deteriorated to the point where it's become a serious liability,” Judge said.

“We're worried about the safety of the tenant in the building. We've actually given the tenant notice that they have to vacate."

The church also has to receive approval from the United Church of Canada, which actually owns the property.

Should demolition occur, Judge said the church would like to create a green space there, as well as a few extra parking spaces.

Judge added that if the church can afford it, he'd also like to see some of the foundation stones salvaged and used to create a base for a new sign to identify the church.