by PETER OWENS
A plan has been developed for adding an “olive leaf” parish centre to the site of St Patrick’s church in Arrowtown, near Queenstown. The site already features the two historic buildings.

The first is the 19th century church, which has a category one listing from the Historic Places Trust. The church is used as part of Queenstown Catholic parish.

The other building is a restored stone cottage named after St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The saint came to Arrowtown in 1897 with other teaching nuns.

Now, a group of parishioners is seeking to add another building on the site on the corner of Hertford and Merioneth Streets.

They are planning to have a parish centre erected, as existing facilities are too small for the growing  Catholic community.

Architect and parishioner Fred van Brandenberg, at the behest of a group of parishioners, came up with the concept of an “olive leaf’’ building.

He started planning a building that would be suitable for the relatively large parcel of unused land on the church site.

Accordingly, he designed a contemporary building which would “pay homage’’ to the neighbouring church, rather than compete with it.

In a brochure delivered to Arrowtown homes, Mr van Brandenburg said the juxtaposition between the historic church and modern building, featuring a “sailing wing-like roof shaped as a leaf’’ would represent a “different age’’.

“We are now in a different period in history and the distinction in design will heighten the difference between the ages.’’

He said there was no cost yet on the project, which would be done on a voluntary basis, and the construction and upkeep of which would be funded entirely by donations.

“The project will only happen when the funds are in place,’’ he said. It would be developed by a non-profit charitable trust accountable to St Patrick’s parish and the diocese of Dunedin.

Mr van Brandenberg said Bishop Colin Campbell had sanctioned the idea and had given it his approval.

This came after consultation with the parish, which delivered a positive endorsement of the project.

While there has been some opposition to Mr van Brandenberg’s ideas, he said a resource consent application would be lodged with the Queenstown Lakes District Council as soon as it was completed.

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