Tower restoration nearly finished

13:17, May 11 2009
MAKING PROGRESS: Workers taking down the scaffolding from the St Mary's tower yesterday, are, Joff Frizzell,Scott Richardt and Marcus Goddin.

The scaffolding on St Mary's tower is finally coming down as stage one of the church restoration project nears completion.

It has been nearly two years since the scaffolding was erected on the church tower.

Delays in stage one of the project had been attributed to a limited availability of qualified people to carry out comprehensive alterations to the stonework, and complications with the height of the tower.

St Mary's fundraising committee chairman Mark Hervey said he was delighted the scaffolding was coming down and stage one of the project was near completion.

The scaffolding and screens had remained in place throughout the restoration project because it was cheaper to keep them there than remove and re-install them when required.

"It was always one of those unknown quantities," Mr Hervey said.

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However, some scaffolding will remain as stage two is set to go ahead in July.

Maintenance will be carried out on the main knave of the church, while windows will be repaired and stonework done.

Mr Hervey said the estimated cost of stage two of the million-dollar-plus project would be about $300,000.

A special biocide solution is yet to be applied to the stonework of the category one classification building, while structural work will be carried out to strengthen the building.

Repair work will also be carried out on trusses and the roof.

Restoration of the tower has cost nearly $500,000 to date. Mr Hervey said the fundraising committee had received a grant from the Lotteries Board for additional funding.

He said fundraising would continue to meet the costs of stage three of the project.

Raising money for the restoration began six years ago, and tradesmen have been on site for the past 18 months.

The Timaru Herald