The owners of one of Wellington's landmark buildings have been granted a 10-year extension to their earthquake strengthening deadline.
The St Gerard's monastery and church buildings sit on a prominent clifftop above Oriental Bay.
The buildings are rated at 20 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS), with anything under 34 per cent considered earthquake prone.
Last year the Herald reported the owners had just $42,000 sitting in a fund to get the buildings strengthened by 2027.
The fund fell well short of the estimated $11 million needed- a cost that could escalate further.
But documents released to the Herald under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act reveal Wellington City Council has granted a 10-year extension to the 2027 deadline.
Director of St Gerard's church and monastery Silvana Abela told the Herald she was thrilled.
"It was just marvellous news because it will give us more time to fundraise."
The buildings are currently owned by the International Catholic Programme of Evangelisation and are used as a mission centre.
Abela said they were taking the fundraising for earthquake strengthening "quite seriously".
But Lambton Ward city councillor Nicola Young isn't convinced.
"I'm desperate to get it strengthened, but the trouble is that under the legislation the council really didn't have much discretion to decline the application for an extension. It's disappointing but our hands are tied."
Under the Building Act, owners of certain heritage buildings may apply for an extension to complete seismic work.
Young described the premises as Wellington's flagship building.
"It's hugely important in our landscape and I want something to happen with it. The current owners are really well-meaning, but I don't believe they have the ability to raise the money."
The extension is conditional on limiting the number of people using the building and isolating areas of the highest risk.
The owners must continue to make progress towards resolving the earthquake-prone status and provide updates to the council when requested.
In a letter to the council following the extension application, Abela said public tours of the premises have not resumed following the Covid-19 lockdown, as of September 2020.
She said they had also opted to not publicise Sunday Mass so as to not attract more people. The average headcount provided in an attached spreadsheet was about 60 people at each gathering.
The most hazardous areas of the building were being used as bedrooms, but will be unoccupied by the end of next month.
Building Resilience Heritage portfolio leader councillor Iona Pannett said the extension was a pragmatic decision.
She said the project would be a difficult proposition for anyone.
"It will cost many millions to strengthen and so people do need time to come up with a long-term solution ... but obviously it is a very steep amount of money that they will have to raise so how realistic that is I guess remains to be seen.
"We will be keeping in touch with them and doing whatever we can to help."
Abela said a fundraising agency has been engaged to conduct a feasibility study.
She confirmed she has received a report and they were now considering how to proceed.
Abela said the issue of fundraising was a top priority going forward, but she was also mindful of the financial impact people were experiencing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the 10-year extension to the deadline was the best solution.
"A logical progression of fundraising and staging can progress to minimise the risk and achieve preservation of the heritage building in a practical manner."