Sydney church reopens after being heavily damaged by flooding
The future looks a lot brighter for a church in Sydney that fell victim to last fall’s Thanksgiving Day flooding.
The tile floor at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish has been replaced, the pews returned, new gyprock installed and a complete overhaul of the heating system.
It’s a big difference from how the parish looked in October.
“For those of us that have been coming here since October and we saw the mess and destruction that was here, to see it coming together is very encouraging. To me this looks wonderful,” says Father Bill Burke.
The torrential rainstorm dumped more than 220 millimetres on the island on Thanksgiving Day, destroying homes and buildings.
“We came driving down this way and we saw the water just surrounding the church and then saw water around the homes on some of the side streets. I just couldn't believe it,” said parishioner Owen Fitzgerald.
The Thanksgiving Day flooding is a day that has changed the landscape of one south-end Sydney neighbourhood forever.
Fitzgerald says being able to save the church will bring the community back together.
“The church is kind of a focal point and part of the glue that holds the community together. Where it's located is kind of in the centre of our community.
The church has been closed for more than five months, with the congregation attending services elsewhere. If everything goes as planned, they should be back in their own building by Easter.
“Each parish has its own style of celebration and the parish at St. Theresa, but it's a different physical space, it's a different type of space and we have our little differences of how we celebrate things, so it's going to be a real coming home,” says Fitzgerald.
Burke wouldn't disclose the final assessment of what it will cost to cover the renovations, repairs and replacement of lost contents, but he says he couldn't put a price tag on being able to save the parish.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.