St Mary of the Angels stays, St Mary’s Blenheim goes

It has been decided that the continued use of St Mary of the Angels in Wellington is defensible, subject to appropriate signage and information to Church users and continued development of a credible strengthening strategy.

But it is not such good news for the people in Blenheim. Parish priest Father Bill Warwick has informed them that St Mary’s would close on Saturday May 26, and masses would be held in the nearby parish hall.

Last Friday the St Mary of the Angels parish Maintenance and Restoration Committee met with four leading seismic engineers who have “peer reviewed” the committee’s recommendations.

The Committee proposed five options to bring St Mary of the Angels Church up to 100 percent of the New Zealand Building Code New Building Standard. Three of the options had been drafted before the earthquakes in Christchurch and the remaining two as a result of what was learned from that seismic event.

After the meeting, one option was agreed to be the most practicable basis for further development of strengthening design and is the selected strengthening strategy.

“This is a major step forward and represents years of preparation and work by our builders, (L T McGuinness Ltd), our engineers (Clendon, Burns & Park Ltd,) and our architects (Bulleyman Fortune Ltd.)” said parish priest Father Barry Scannell in the parish’s newsletter.

“The development of the agreed option will continue and we hope to be able to forward in the very near future our recommendations to the Archbishop for approval,” he said

Father Warwick said said the Blenheim church, built in 1878 and renovated in 1993, was assessed at only 8 per cent of the current building standards, which ranked an E on the earthquake rating scale.

He said the risk was too high for continued use of St Mary’s, which had about 1000 people attend masses during the weekend.

Wellington archdiocese property general manager Paul Bayliss says St Mary’s is top priority for engineering assessment and repair.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

Tags: , , , , ,