by JEFF DILLON
DUNEDIN — The wrangle over the Italian marble altar at Teschemakers Chapel could roll on into 2012 as the battle moves up a notch.
Fr Mark Chamberlain of Holy Name Parish, north Dunedin, has lodged an appeal to the High Court to overturn a recent Environment Court decision.
In August this year, Environment Court judge Jane Borthwick, along with commissioners Charles Manning and John Mills, heard legal submissions on the status of the altar and whether it could be regarded as a chattel and able to be removed without resource consent.
In mid-October the court said the application by Susie Scott to make her interim order final was upheld. The court decided the altar was “part and parcel of the chapel” and therefore was not a chattel. Therefore resource consent would have to be applied for in order to remove it.
The decision delighted Ms Scott and her supporters. The court decision also applies to the chapel’s stained glass windows.
Fr Chamberlain then consulted his legal team of Paul Cavanagh QC and Michael Nidd and subsequently decided to lodge an appeal against both findings.
Ms Scott and supporters are disappointed at the latest move.
Fr Chamberlain said he is very grateful for the support and efforts of his legal team of Mr Cavanagh from Remuera parish and Dunedin lawyer Mr Nidd. Fr Chamberlain indicated that the legal costs are covered in his case.
Fr Chamberlain noted the altar had originally been donated by the Hart family. In his view, the altar was for the celebration of the Mass — and this had not happened for about 14 years, since the chapel was deconsecrated. The altar was one of the items that the Dominican Sisters considered they owned in the chapel as a chattel. The Sisters had offered the altar to Fr Chamberlain to use in Holy Name Church.
Fr Chamberlain has indicated that he hopes the issue can be resolved out of court.