Va­ri­ety of ideas so far to re­pur­pose Har­bour Grace church

The Compass - - NEWS - TC ME­DIA edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

With al­most 100 re­sponses re­ceived, there ap­pears to be plenty of sup­port be­hind find­ing a fu­ture for an old church in Har­bour Grace.

Ac­cord­ing to the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion Church Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, pref­er­ences so far re­volve around us­ing the build­ing for artis­tic and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, tourism, wed­ding ren­tals, meet­ings and ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties. An on­line sur­vey was launched early last month.

The Ro­man Catholic Dio­cese of Grand Falls closed the church in 2014. It’s ex­pected to cost mil­lions to re­store the 124-year-old struc­ture. The com­mit­tee was sub­se­quently es­tab­lished with the sup­port of the dio­cese.

An over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of sur­vey re­spon­dents strongly agree with preserving the struc­ture and find­ing a new pur­pose for it. Rea­sons men­tioned for want­ing to pro­tect the church in­clude the need to main­tain an im­por­tant ar­chi­tec­tural landmark and pre­serve the mem­o­ries at­tached to it.

“It’s such a beau­ti­ful build­ing and an im­por­tant part of the town,” one anony­mous per­son wrote. “It would be a shame to have it go to waste or torn down. It should be re­pur­posed to be en­joyed by ev­ery­one in the town and nearby com­mu­ni­ties.”

Over a third of sur­vey re­spon­dents are from Har­bour Grace, ac­cord­ing to the com­mit­tee. Peo­ple can still fill it out on­line.

The com­mit­tee ex­pects to hold a cou­ple of fo­cus group ses­sions later this month in Har­bour Grace to brain­storm and col­lect more ideas from res­i­dents. There will be a va­ri­ety of in­vited par­tic­i­pants, but any­one else in­ter­ested in tak­ing part can email hg­cathe­dral@her­itage­foun­da­tion.ca or call 739-1892 (ext. 1). Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the project can be found at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion of New­found­land and Labrador web­site.

www.her­itage­foun­da­tion.ca/im­mac­u­late­con­cep­tion-cathe­dral.aspx

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