The Renovation of Our Lady of Fair Haven Cathedral in Roseau is estimated at approximately $12-million with significant amounts of work done over the years.
The initial project was expected to be the renovation of the termite-ridden roof which cost some $2.5-million.
However, following the earthquakes of 2004 where two cathedrals suffered damage in Portsmouth and Vielle Case respectively, seismic tests were done on “Our Lady of Fair Haven Cathedral” to ensure the foundation of the 170-year-old building could withstand the roofing structure.
Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau, His Lordship Gabriel Malzaire who addressed the media on Monday said, the seismic testing revealed that the foundation of the cathedral was unsuitable to support the kind of roofing structure that was intended, leading to a complete re-do of the foundation.
In the process, the initial estimated cost of $2.5-million shifted to a $12-million project.
“The project has gone in various phases; we began with the removal of the furniture and the setting up of St Gerard’s Hall as our Cathedral chapel. Then it moved on to the removal of the asbestos on the roof and that in itself was quite a technical thing,” His Lordship Gabriel Malzaire said.
“Then after that, we had the removal of the entire roof then the foundations to be redone and of course in the process we had to dismantle the organ, the pipe organ, and store it away, remove the stain glass windows and store them away and so, therefore, we moved on from a $2.5 million dollar estimate of just removing the roof to where we are right now with an estimate of about $12 million.”
“I’m sure it will be more because as we move along we realize that with the prices of things skyrocketing, the estimates are shifting,” he added.
One of the main struggles in the process according to His Lordship Malzaire is that of tremendous delays.
“Delays because of Tropical Storm Erika and of course Hurricane Maria and also delays for procurement of materials that had to come from abroad. So the rate at which the renovation work has been going on it is due to that fact, that it has had delays. But another significant portion of our struggle is the question of finances.”
According to Bishop Malzaire, local fundraising has accumulated to $5.1-million with total revenue towards the cathedral at $8.2m.
The church also has a loan from the National Bank of Dominica to the tune of $3.8m to work on the roof and flooring.
Total spending on the project so far is $9.6-million.