Canada – Extensive mold in the rectory at St. George’s Anglican Church in Ontario has led the congregation to consider tearing it down. The house, built in the 1870’s, is located east of the church on Guelph St. Reverend Rob Park said the mold problems in the rectory were exacerbated last month when, during a cold snap, the furnace malfunctioned and several pipes burst in the upstairs of the home.
He said when Service Master was called in to repair the damaged pipes, they found extensive areas of preexisting hazardous mold hidden inside walls, behind the original plaster. “They immediately halted their repair efforts as a special team dressed in bio-hazard gear is required to remove this level of mold toxicity,” said Park. He said in the last 10 years the church has spent more than $100,000 renovating and repairing the rectory.
The church offices had been housed in the main floor of the rectory since 1995, but in June 2004, they were moved back to the main building out of growing health concerns. “It is suspected that the building is situated over an underground stream or spring as water in the basement has been a frequent problem,” said Park. He said during the two years he and his family lived in the rectory his wife and daughter suffered allergy-induced asthma symptoms. “My wife was terribly sick,” he said. “We had suspicions about the house because it had chronic water problems.” He said, however, they didn’t realize the full impact the mold in the home was having on their health until they moved to a rental home.
“Within two weeks I noticed a big improvement,” said Park. He said if the building is torn down they hope to be able to recycle as much as the material as possible and that the sale of current cabinetry and other items in the home will allow for a modest recovery of some of the cost. Estimates are currently being drawn up to determine the cost of removal of the rectory.
The decision to remove the building has to be finalized at a special meeting and the diocese also has to approve it. The Canadian government recognizes mold as a national health crisis and provides truthful and detailed information to Canadian citizens on the health hazards of fungal exposure.