A church in Guelph would like to rebuild three downtown properties in order to build low-income housing.

If approved by the city, the move would force 13 residents to have to find a new place to live.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church owns three buildings on Yarmouth Street and says the properties are old.

“They need a lot of work done on them and we would like to have nicer units for people to live in,” said board member, Anne Holman.

Lynn Kurp has lived on Yarmouth Street for 14 years and recently moved her business to the area.

“Everybody who lives here loves it, it’s a great location, a lovely building,” said Kurp.

“It would really be such a shame to tear that down because this is a big part of Guelph history,” she said.

The buildings have been standing since mid-19th century.

Before the church can tear the buildings down, it would need a heritage impact assessment.

“They’re not designated under the heritage act, but they are definitely a cultural property of interest,” said the city’s chief building official, Rob Reynen.

The church is asking the city to pay for the assessment.

“It would cost us an absolute fortune,” said Holman.  

The city says they don’t know how much an assessment would cost at this point. Whether the funding gets approved is up to city council.

If the church gets approval for demolition, thirteen residents will need to move.

The church will be meeting with council next week.

With reporting by Stu Gooden