The old St. John’s Anglican Church on Buller street will likely be demolished within the next week, if not the next few days.
“The demolition company, from my understanding… they’re eager to get in here,” buidling committee chair, Marsh Stevens said. “They can demolish it any time the hydro is unhooked. When we phoned last week they, [BC Hydro], said it’d be within seven business days, so it could be any time.”
The site is being cleared to make way for the LRCA’s low income housing development that is expected to add 36 units of housing for seniors, disabled people, and some families.
In preparation of the demolition, the LRCA, and the Ladysmith Historical Society arranged to have the steeple top cross, and church bell removed. Both pieces, along with a steeple shingle were donated to the Ladysmith Museum. The LRCA will be keeping a two pews from the church.
The part of the church was originally a school house in Wellington It was transferred to Ladysmith in 1901 after the Dunsmuirs founded the town of Ladysmith. The building served as a church all the way up until the mid 2010s, when the parishioners moved to a church in Cedar. Age, decay, and environmental hazards rendered the church beyond saving.
Ladysmith museum manager, Lesley Moore said that the church has great historical significance to the community.
“There are still so many alive who were married here, their kids were baptized here, there were funeral services here, so that’s always the strong connection… A huge effort was made to just save part of it. The reality is, it costs a lot of money, and the wonderful thing is that the community is still going to be benefitting from the site,” Moore said.
FMI Installations donated a crane truck and specialists to remove the historical items free of charge.
For LRCA board president, Guido Weisz, the removal of the cross and church bell is the first step in visible changes to the site, and something he hopes will signal to the community that the LRCA project is ready to move forward.
“We are very hopeful that we’re able to see some construction in the fall. It’s the very first step in that process, and we look forward to keeping a tight timeframe, and getting the building built to serve our community as soon as possible,” Weisz said.