AFTER years as a target for vandals between various failed business ventures the old Golden Fleece service station on Kinghorne Street has been born again.
It was purchased by Shoalhaven Baptist Church a little over a year ago and Pastor Richard Shellabear has made it his mission to give the building a new lease on life.
“I believe the building was built in the mid-1950s as the Golden Fleece Roadhouse – that was when Kinghorne Street was the main road through town,” Mr Shellabear said.
“Following that it was a Christian bookstore, then an Indian restaurant, then Al’s Takeaway Diner and then went into disrepair after that closed.”
The building was the cause of concern for residents living around it for a few years.
It was often targeted by vandals.
Mr Shellabear said the church had been aware of the potential for the building and aware of the concern its state of disrepair was causing the community.
“We purchased it about 12 months ago,” he said.
“We are a small church and the site suited us. As a small independent church it was challenging raising the funds, but we had help from other independent Baptist churches.
“And then it was just a lot of hard work with a lot of help from various people including local tradesmen to renovate the building.”
Mr Shellabear said he had received good feedback from the community after completing the renovations.
“Our goal was to be in before a major series of evangelistic meetings we had planned for February, these will be our first events, and we moved in just before Christmas.
“It was a year’s worth of work to get it right, but it was worth it.
“People in the local neighbourhood are delighted; our immediate neighbours are really pleased the place is now being looked after.”
As a former petrol station the issue of fuel contamination on the site needed to be addressed.
Holes were drilled throughout the property however no evidence was found of underground tanks.
“We haven’t disturbed anything. Council said there would be no issues if we stay on the same footprint as the original building, which we did. “Current regulations meant everything except the floor and roof has been rebuilt,” Mr Shellabear said.