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Cathedral work slows


rhondathompson, [email protected]

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RAIN has DELAYED the start of investigative work for the St Michael Cathedral restoration project.This delay concerns  chairman of the Diocesan Trustees, Hartley Richards.In a telephone interview on Monday, Richards said the work was to begin last week Monday, but was delayed by rain.He said he subsequently spoke to architect Robert O’Neil from Design Collaborative, who assured him the work would begin yesterday, but that as far as he knew this had not happened, which he said made it appear as if the trustees were not doing a good job.When a DAILY NATION team visited the Cathedral yesterday morning, the verger said that had been her second Monday waiting for someone to arrive.“Mondays are my off days but I came here last week anyway, but no one came, and here I am again,” she said.Later that afternoon, O’Neil, speaking to the DAILY NATION in the offices of Design Collaborative in the Lauriston building, Collymore Rock, said the restoration of the cathedral was a process. “You first have to do your planning then you appoint a contractor to carry out the work. Any restoration project requires a large degree of investigation and research and that is where we are now,” he said.O’Neil said for preliminary work setting up scaffolding, Design Collaborative had hired a contractor, who had just arrived on explained. He emphasised no contractor had yet been hired to engage in the actual restoration of the cathedral.He said this preliminary work was to have started last Monday, but rain deterred the effort as any work undertaken would have resulted in letting water into the church and “they did not want to cause any more damage”.“We are in very, very early days but we are going through the process.“We are aware the church is in very poor condition, and we have come up with an action plan to prevent water from entering the building,” he said.O’Neil said he had identified three main problems that had to be initially addressed: defective gutters and “down” pipes, defective windows and defective roofing of the lady chapel or chancel areas.He said other problems included rising damp and faulty flooring, stairs,wall finishes, electrical wiring and plumbing.The Diocesan Trustees took over responsibility for renovation of the Cathedral from the Cathedral Restoration Foundation to address the dilapidated state of the local flagship of the Anglican Diocese, evidenced by several broken windows; termite-infested floors, pews and kneelers; a leaking roof; and peeling paint. (CA)

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