Oh look – an altar-cation in Oamaru where the Environment Court seems to have lost its marbles

Alf has huge sympathy for a bunch of nuns who are being heavied by the boorish townsfolk of Oamaru.

The nuns want a 90-year-old marble altar shifted. The bloody townsfolk say it must stay in Oamaru.

If Alf were the nuns, he would tell the townsfolk to piss off, although he accepts that nuns maybe are trained to eschew bluntly expressed and easily comprehended commands of that sort.

More important, telling the townsfolk to piss off would not do the trick in this case because the boorish townsfolk have gone through a bit of legal howz-your-father aimed at obliging the nuns to get a resource consent to move the altar.

A bloody resource consent??? Really???

Yep. Alf picked up the story from Radio NZ.

The carved altar is in a chapel that’s for sale.

Nuns from the Dominican Order want it removed and sent to a parish in Dunedin, but townsfolk insist it must stay where it is.

The Teschemakers complex just south of Oamaru has been a Catholic girls’ boarding school, a retreat run by the Dominican sisters.

But the 29 hectare property, the original homestead, dormitory block, classrooms, chapel and swimming pool are now on the market.

Hmm. What should the Dominican sisters do to ensure their altar goes to a good home and is not smashed up by developers (who are prone to smashing a great deal in the name of development and to aid and abet their aim to make a buck)?

Ah. The nuns had the answer.

They would gift the ornate altar to a Catholic church in Dunedin.

However, townspeople on Monday went to the chapel and refused to allow stonemasons to remove the altar.

They also obtained an interim Environment Court injunction to stop the work.

What in God’s name has the nuns’ decision to gift an altar got to do with the bloody Environment Court?

Who owns the altar, for starters?

Technically, the altar belongs to the Holy Name parish in Dunedin.

And what is the effect of the legal nonsense in which the townsfolk have engaged?

The injunction applies to the church and a stonemason company contracted by the church.

The court order instructs the church to apply for resource consent through the Waitaki District Council before going ahead with the removal of the altar.

Oh, Alf is willing to acknowledge at this point that maybe not all the townsfolk of Oamaru are being boorish and nettlesome on this matter.

Just a few, assuming Radio NZ is right about the numbers who will bother turning up at a meeting.

At least 100 people are expected to attend the meeting on Friday night to discuss ways to ensure that does not happen at all.

Alf will be bringing this carry-on to the attention of Nick Smith, our Minister for the Environment, to remind him the vexatious Resource Management Act is still capable of doing a great deal of mischief to people – including nuns – without doing a fat rat to protect the environment in cases like this.

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