The three-month restoration of the partially collapsed roof of an outbuilding of St Augustine’s Church will cost about one million patacas, Leong Wai Man, who heads the Cultural Heritage Department of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), said on Tuesday.
Several senior IC officials, including Leong, spoke to reporters during the bureau’s “Cultural Gathering” with the media at Dom Pedro V Theatre, which is opposite the UNESCO World Heritage-listed church.
Asked by reporters who will pay the one million patacas, Leong said the bureau would finance the restoration first and discuss the matter later with the local Roman Catholic diocese.
The bureau has completed a report on the accident, which will be submitted to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in Beijing soon, according to Leong.
Insisting that the incident last month had been mainly caused by the torrential rain at that time, Leong said the bureau would thoroughly check the structure of the church, which is now closed to the public. She said the bureau would determine whether part of the church could be reopened to the public during the restoration.
Asked by a reporter whether the bureau lacked sufficient professionals for the inspection and conservation of the city’s various cultural heritage properties, Leong said her department had around 10 officers for the task, adding that the bureau was regularly commissioning “professional consulting firms” to help them.
According to the department chief, there are 128 heritage sites, which include over 400 buildings, on the official protection list. She said the bureau “endeavours to check the sites twice a year”. The bureau’s previous regular inspections show that four other sites have “potential risks”, namely the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, St. Anthony’s Church, St. Joseph’s Seminary, and Ox Warehouse, Leong said, pledging to do further checks on the safety of the edifices.