Historic Church in Fernie Seeking Funds for Restoration Work

(Credit; Diocese of Kootenay)

Christ Church Anglican wants to bring the building closer to its original look when it was first built 109 years ago.

Warden Catherine Ripley says they are seeking around $150,000 in grants from Columbia Basin Trust's Built Heritage fund to do some much-needed work on the building.

That would entail installing a new roof and restoring some of the brickwork.

Although the church was built in 1910 and remains the oldest of its kind after the 1904 fire destroyed the community's other two Anglican churches, the original slate tiles on the roof were replaced by metal shingles in 1968.

"It was recommended to us by professional heritage consultants who looked at our church last fall that we could use this artificial slate product and it would take us back to the look of 1910 but without the weight and the heaviness and the expense of real slate."

Ripley wrote to the City of Fernie to get a letter of support to aid in their grant application, which was approved at this week's council meeting.

Mayor Ange Qualizza says there was no question as to whether or not they wanted to help get this project off the ground.

"I think it's just amazing. These buildings are what defines Fernie. We've got so many people that love them and they add an immense amount of value to our community."

The only difficulty the group could face in this process is finding bricks that closely resemble the original ones from 1910 that were built in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Assuming they are successful in getting grant funding from CBT, renovations would start this summer and likely wrap up before the end of the year, although Ripley says it might have to carry over a little bit into 2020.

Audio: Catherine Ripley, Warden, Christ Church Anglican Fernie

Audio: Ange Qualizza, Mayor, City of Fernie

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