City Councillor says church itself not at risk


Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett says St Gerard’s Church itself is not at risk, but some “tough calls” might have to be made about the future of other earthquake-prone buildings that are part of the St Gerard’s Monastery.

Pannett holds the Council’s heritage building resilience portfolio.

She said a special grant was one option the council had to offer some support, but ultimately the monastery may need to downsize.

She said the parish is going to have to make some tough calls about what it does with the buildings.

“It’s a very painful process [relinquishing heritage buildings], but the buildings do need to be safe.”

The monastery and church buildings are rated at 25 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS), and its owners have until 2027 to get them strengthened.

The buildings are owned by the International Catholic Programme of Evangelisation (IPCE).

St Gerard’s is not the only catholic church in Wellington that has had to contend with earthquake strengthening costs.

The St Mary of the Angels Church on Boulcott St reopened in 2017 after a $9.3m upgrade.

Work will begin this month at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Thorndon.

The Cathedral parish received a one-off ‘out of round’ contribution from the Council’s Built Heritage Incentive Fund to help ensure the $3.3 million strengthening works proceeded.

Pannett says the Cathedral is one of only seven basilicas in New Zealand.

She said it is important that the Council is able to invest in important projects around the city, even in tough times.

“This is a well-thought-out project. Every building that comes off our quake-prone building list makes the city safer.”


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