At the Congregational Meeting held in St. Mark’s church on October 16, the congregation was advised that Morey Construction, together with Superville Engineering, had recently completed an inspection of the church tower and provided an estimate of the cost for preservation work of the stone masonry. The Inspection Report included the following recommendations:
“All elevation of the tower is at a state where mortar or small pieces of stone could fall to the ground, particularly during freeze thaw cycles in the spring and fall. The south-west corner buttress of the tower is showing severe signs of deterioration and small pieces of stone and mortar are beginning to come loose and fall to the ground; this area is very close to the ramp providing access to the church entrance. With the current state of the tower, it would be strongly recommended overhead protection be installed as a precaution to protect pedestrians when accessing the main entrance of the church.”
The total cost for tower rebuilding and repair is currently estimated to be of the order of $250,000 to $300,000.
The Congregation was also advised that the church would be exploring all possible opportunities to secure funds through grants, through special appeals, through fundraising, and by using available funds in the Building Account. A similar approach was successfully used to construct the $133,000 accessibility ramp. At this stage, St. Mark’s is not looking to our investment accounts to fund the tower repairs.
To “kick-start” the fundraising, between now and December 16, Bill Patterson has agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations designated to the tower repairs, up to a maximum of $10,000.
Also, at the Parish Council meeting held on October 19, it was agreed that unless advised otherwise, proceeds from all planned fundraising events would be allocated to the Tower Repair fund. (This excludes ACW events and other Special Appeals).
Aside from providing protective scaffolding as soon as possible, no other set decisions have been made to this point.
As next steps, a Tower Repair Committee will be established to develop a multi-year staging plan to complete, as economically as possible, the work identified in the Inspection Report, based on work priorities and realistic annual funding constraints. Such a plan will be a living document, updated frequently, as work is completed, and as new work is identified. This committee will also develop a short-term and long-term funding strategy to support the work.
Pending the construction of the temporary overhead protection, the congregation was advised to be aware of the risk of pieces of stone and mortar falling to the ground, when accessing the church via the accessibility ramp. Appropriate warning signs have been installed.