Twelve people were lucky to survive an inferno that engulfed a church building in Central Coast NSW, North of Sydney on October 11th 2010.
The volunteers had been setting up audio-visual equipment ahead of a Sunday children’s service at the Coastlife Church at Erina, on the Central Coast, when they noticed smoke at about 4.30pm on Saturday. Within minutes, fire had spread through the two-level building. Dozens of firefighters and 10 fire trucks battled the blaze, which destroyed the $5 million building. A nearby nursing home was evacuated and neighbours described a “deafening roar” as flames leapt 20m above the roof.
Exactly 2 years later the church returned to a brand new facility that had been constructed on the site of the building that had burnt to the ground in October 2010, but now it wasn’t simply a church building that provided worship services on Sundays, but instead, they came to a vibrant community enterprise centre providing a range of services to thousands of people each week.
Known as ‘Impact Centre’ the new facility operates 7 days per week and provides a range of services and activities including; KidsWorld – A children’s indoor playground; Impact Gym – the largest fitness centre in the region; Impact Wellness – a family medical practice with holistic allied health professionals as well as GPs; Bridge Café and Catering; Impact Conference and Function Centre; Leadership Training College and the Impact Church.
The Vision for Impact was born out a strategic alliance between Ian Zerna, CEO and Senior Pastor of Impact, and John Dingemanse, CEO and Founder of CBM Sustainability Group.
Together they envisioned designing and building a new modern, multi-purpose Facility that would be effective in serving the community and meeting the needs of all community sectors not just church members.
John, through his company CBM Sustainability Group always applies the principles of ‘Sustainability’ to each of CBM’s projects, which he describes as follows; Social Advancement, Environmental Enhancement, Economic Enlargement.
In other words, each and every new development project designed and delivered by CBM must satisfy these 3 criteria Social – they must provide community benefit so that the whole community gains from the development and ongoing operations,
Environmental – they must not take way but add to the environment
Economic – they must produce profits for all participants not just the developer
Applying these Sustainability Principles to the Impact Centre development, John and his Team set about designing a new facility that was able to be used for a wide variety of functions and service provision for community benefit, that was environmentally sensitive in terms of energy efficiency, water management and vegetation management, and that would stack up financially delivering good financial returns and benefiting all suppliers, contractors and stakeholders both during the development phase and in ongoing operations.
The model has become so successful that now, almost 5 years later, Impact Centre is lauded internationally as a benchmark Community Enterprise Centre operated by a church and benefiting the whole community. Genuine care and respect for people is at the heart of Impact’s success. By identifying and then meeting community needs Impact has created various enterprises that fund other community welfare activities and by so doing respond practically to other needs.
On a typical week, some 5,000 people come through the Impact Centre which increases for specific events and functions. Impact is now well known for delivering a wide range of community services, and they can provide many of those for free because the Impact Centre pays its own way through the various enterprises within the Centre, thereby freeing up church funds for genuine community service.
Impact is now looking at rolling out similar facilities in other campuses in South Australia and New South Wales.
Also, John Dingemanse and his team is working with other church and community groups to put CBM’s Sustainability Principles in place for their facilities across Australia and also overseas.
Impact Centre demonstrates that by putting the interests of others first and injecting that philosophy, together with CBM’s Sustainability Principles, into the design and development process, new project development can indeed become a true community asset.