Upper Thomson church closes chapel after damage found in wall, floor

Upper Thomson church closes chapel after damage found in wall, floor

Cracks have started appearing on the walls of the chapel in the Church of the Holy Spirit at Upper Thomson, leading to the closure of the chapel.

The fissures on the white curved wall of the chapel, located on the second storey of the church's main building, became noticeable two to three weeks ago.

A notice put up on the church's Facebook page said that some floor tiles had also buckled and cracked.

"For safety reasons, our chapel is closed indefinitely," the post added.

The cracks could be due to the extensive tunnelling work that is taking place next to the church for the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) MRT, the post stated.

Work on the TEL, which is a joint line between the Thomson Line and the Eastern Region Line, started several months ago.

Parts of the 43km-long line, which will have 31 new stations, is expected to be in operation by 2019.

A church spokesman, Mr Joseph Bong, said they were unsure about the cause of the cracks.

The church has also recently demolished a building it owns that was located beside the main one.

It plans to put up a new building in its place.

But Mr Bong said he thinks the cracks in the chapel were not caused by the church's own construction work.

"It can't be us because we haven't started our construction work. We are only demolishing," he said.

Parish priest Andrew Wong told The New Paper that church representatives have met with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) over the recent cracks.

LTA is checking on the cause of the problem, he said.

"If they are responsible (after checking the fault line and other tests), they will be liable," he added.

An LTA spokesman told TNP that they are working with the church on the issue.

"We will investigate fully the cause of the damage," its spokesman said.

She added that preliminary investigations found that the cracks were non-structural, which means the building's structure is not affected. Meanwhile, weekday and weekend mass held in the chapel have been moved to the main church hall.

The church is looking to fix the cracks soon, said Mr Bong, who has sought quotations for the necessary repair work.

Most church-goers TNP spoke to yesterday after Sunday mass did not appear concerned about the cracks.

Some expressed worry that the cracks would deepen, but were relieved to find out that authorities were looking into the cause.

Mr Raymond Fernando, 64, who goes to the columbarium in the church every day to visit his wife's niche, said he hopes the authorities do not take the cracks lightly and investigate the cause fully.

The freelance writer added: "LTA should consider stopping word temporarily."

fjieying@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Jan 5, 2015.
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