A preliminary engineering assessment of St Mary's Church in Sewell Street, Hokitika has revealed that the building is earthquake prone. Whilst engineering solutions are assessed the church is unable to be used.
St Mary's School hall has been suggested by engineers as a suitable alternative for the Parish in the interim. The parish and school are working together to enable this to happen.
The church needs to be further assessed and will likely require remedial work in order to meet appropriate building standards and allow it to be re-occupied. A schedule of temporary strengthening works has yet to be completed and put forward to the Diocese for consideration. The parish will be fully consulted as part of this and the works agreed to. As this process continues Bishop Barry Jones is concerned and has given instruction that the parish be involved and consulted in this process.
Further details will be advised as they become available.
The following actions have been and/or will shortly be undertaken:
1. The installation of a temporary fence around the church building in accord with the plan above. Some areas within buildings may be accessible for storage only and not for regular use. Fencing will be installed Friday 15th June.
2. The fence will remain in place whilst more permanent solutions are investigated in association with structural engineers from Opus International Consultants.
3. Access to the building is approved for removal of liturgical items needed for Mass but no more than three persons at any time should be in the building. Contractors will be available to assist the parish to remove wanted items.
4. Regular twice weekly opening of the church during fine weather will be necessary to ventilate the building. This will need to be undertaken with one person remaining outside the building. Safety hats and vests will be required as a safety measure.
5. Please take care when driving and walking around the site. Pedestrians must stay outside of the fenced safety area.
6. Existing car parking arrangements to remain in place (apart from the loss of parking in front of the garage and presbytery where these are inside the fenced area)
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