26 September 2011
Quakes Royal Commission Hearings to be Held at Church Hall
Public meeting spaces suitable for holding public hearings are in short supply in earthquake devastated Christchurch. But the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission has come up with a novel solution.
The Commission has reached an agreement with St Teresa’s Parish in Riccarton to hold its hearings in the church hall that adjoins the church and school on Puriri St. The hall is normally used from time to time by the school and community groups. But St Teresa’s has agreed to let the Royal Commission have exclusive use of the facility for several months while hearings are held, beginning 17 October.
To bring the hall up to standard, the Commission is contributing over $20,000 towards the cost of improvements including new vinyl, paint and bathroom hand basins (although the basket ball hoop in the hearing room will remain!) The Commission will also pay weekly rent. This money will be used to help fund further improvements after the hearings are completed.
In welcoming the Commission, St Teresa’s Father Antoine Thomas says it is a great opportunity to reach out and live the last Commandment of Jesus- Christ: “Love one another as I have loved you”.
“The parish will benefit by displaying that attitude of understanding and compassion toward many hurting families. St Teresa’s parishioners will have that opportunity to welcome all the families that have been affected by the earthquakes,” says Father Antoine.
Royal Commission executive director Justine Gilliland says the Commission is pleased to be able to hold the hearings in a friendly environment and contribute to the community while conducting the inquiry into earthquake-related building failures that caused loss of life.
“These are exceptional times here in Christchurch and, like many organisations, we’ve had to be adaptable. Although the inquiry has been underway since May the hearings are the public face of the inquiry and it is important they are conducted in a suitable venue. We appreciate the support of the community helping us to make this possible,” says Gilliland.
About the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission in Christchurch was established in response to the building failure and loss of life caused by the Canterbury earthquake in February 2011.
The purpose of the Commission is to examine issues around the built environment in the Christchurch central business district and to inquire into the adequacy of relevant building codes and standards into the future.
The Commission will provide the Governor-General an interim report by 11 October 2011 and a final report no later than 11 April 2012.
For Further Information:
Senior Communications Advisor
Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
Ph 03 741 3004
Father Antoine Thomas
St Teresa’s Parish
Ph 03 343 2527