The teetering bell tower at the historic Saint-Sauveur Church in Quebec City’s Lowertown has forced the closure of two streets and a schoolyard near the building.
Municipal authorities have blocked des Oblats Avenue and Boisseau Street.
The schoolyard at Marguerite-Bourgeoys Elementary School, located across the street from the 150-year-old church, is also cordoned off.
“We’re scared it might collapse right on the children. Even if it looks like it could fall away from the school, that’s not a sure thing,” said Benoît Jousson, whose child attends Marguerite-Bourgeoys.
“I want it fixed soon, so it’s safe — but also so the children can use the schoolyard again.”
Maintenance work on the bell tower had been set for next year. The architect in charge of the project noticed Monday the structure had visibly moved and was no longer stable.
Building temporarily closed
“Obviously, this is a cause for concern. Heavy structures like that aren’t supposed to move in a visible way,” said Father Jean Picher, Saint-Sauveur’s parish priest.
“If it fell, it would be disastrous for the church,” he said. “If a bell tower falls, I don’t see how it wouldn’t destroy the building.”
The building is fenced off, although church services are still being held in the church’s sacristy, which parishioners can enter through the adjoining presbytery.
Picher said it will take a few days to determine the extent of the repairs needed.