Church jury out on whether Ward church to stay or go
The Catholic Church is waiting for engineering advice before deciding whether to demolish the church at Ward.
A small structure made from bricks and concrete in the 1920s, the church was damaged in the August 16 earthquake, with cracks in its tower and water damage from a broken water cylinder in a meeting room.
Church spokesman Dave Mullin said on Friday a "severely damaged building" notice from the council said the church either needed to be fixed or demolished.
Engineering advice was being sought, as was advice from the church's insurers, and no decision on its future had been made yet.
The Ward church had been structurally damaged. It did not look dramatic from the outside, and nothing had collapsed, but the tower had significant cracking, he said.
Valuables had been secured away from the building.
Mr Mullin said the church had been used about twice this year, but it was historic and an important part of the Ward community.
"The Ward Catholic community following the quakes has scattered, as you'd want to. They are just coming back to the district and finding out the true extent of the damage and making some in principle decisions. We're just doing that now."
The Catholic church in Seddon had come through the quakes "pretty well", Mr Mullin said. There had been a few elements damaged during the July earthquakes, including the crucifix which fell down during Mass. But it was a wooden building, and while it had a low rating against the building code, it had performed well during the August earthquakes and was usable.
Bringing Blenheim's Catholic church up to standard would be a long-term project, he said. St Mary's was a historic building and important to Marlborough.
"Certainly the quakes in Seddon and Ward didn't impact the church to any obvious degree. They have certainly increased our desire, if not there already, to move that process along."
- The Marlborough Express