Anger over Tinui church relocation plans
Plans to spend more than $200,000 moving a tiny rural church has angered one of the area's founding families who say flood-risk problems could be solved at a fraction of the cost.
The Church of the Good Shepherd in the small rural Masterton settlement of Tinui is set to be moved a few hundred metres down the road, but members of the Maunsell family who have strong historic connections to the region say the move is unnecessary and goes against the wishes of the people who built it.
The move was put to a community vote over a year ago, but plans have stalled over negotiations for a suitable plot.
It is estimated any move could cost more than $200,000.
Bridget Canning (nee Maunsell) said it was a good chance to re-examine the decision.
Her family had paid for an engineering report that showed one of the key reasons for moving the church, namely that it was at risk of flooding, could be mitigated at a fraction of a cost.
"We don't believe the options have been considered properly and the flood justification is weak," she said.
Canning said to fill in a depression on its current site and lift the church onto higher piles would cost less than half of what the Diocese might spend on moving it .
"Why would the church spend all this extra money to relocate it when the balance could be spent on the homeless or school programmes," she said.
Church of the Good Shepherd Tinui bishop's warden Richard Tredwell said the justification for the move was to get it off the flood plain and move it closer to the heart of the village, where it may get more use.
"All the options were laid on the table and, even given that mitigation, the popular vote was to move the church."
He admitted now that the project was "on hold" as the Wellington Dioceses worked through legal issues with the proposed relocation site.
If the purchase of the section fell through, they would have to reconsider their options, he said.
"We could look at the village and where it might possibly be located, but there is not too much out there. Or go back to the drawing board and say 'how else can we do this?'," Tredwell said.
Canning's mother, Pam Maunsell, was a founding member of the Tinui Historic Society, and also believed the church should stay put.
She said the decision to move had been made without considering the historical context of its current placement and many people who advocated for the move had not been in the area long and did not fully appreciate this history.
"The early Tinui ancestors chose this spot with the magical backdrop of Mt Maunsell in the background, when they could have chosen anywhere in Tinui to build their church," she said.
Her husband Brian Maunsell built and installed the Lych Gate in 1983 for the church to celebrate the Maunsell family settling at Tinui Station in 1859.