The bell-tower of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Fernie will be clad in scaffolding for the next few weeks while it undergoes some repairs. (Contributed by Anne Majic)

Fernie’s Holy Family Catholic Church bell tower gets a new roof

Work is underway to replace the bell-tower roof and repair water damage

The Holy Family Catholic Church in Fernie is having some much-needed work done to repair the bell-tower roof, with work set to continue into the next few weeks.

Scaffolding is up around the iconic building on 4th Ave which has stood since completion in 1912.

According to John Pallone, who is a member of the restoration committee for the church, the bell-tower roof was revealed to be leaking after a structural evaluation last year, leading to water damage to the roof and the structure. Plans to do work last year were scuttled by the pandemic, but as of last week the church has a shiny new metal roof.

“It should be good for at least a hundred more years,” said Pallone.

“(But) we also discovered there was some damage in the bell-tower structure – the structure that holds and supports the bell and the wheel – there was some wood rot there,” he said, explaining that the scaffolding on the building would stay up for a few more weeks yet while work to repair the structural damage was done.

The tower, which is over 100 feet tall offers sweeping views of the town – and access to the top is tight so the scaffolding was mandatory for the repairs.

While it’s there, work will also be going ahead on installing clear glass over the ornate stained glass windows that are currently shielded by plexiglass. The new glass will allow the windows to be seen from the outside.

Pallone said that with the windows visible from the outside, there were hopes the stained glass could be further showcased by having the interior lights on at night to allow passers-by to enjoy the colours, design and history depicted.

“The windows themselves are quite fantastic.”

Funds for the repairs to the roof have come through parish funds, while efforts to repair and restore the stained glass windows is from grant funding and funds raised by parishioners.

READ MORE: Italian bake sale fundraises for the Holy Family Church
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