There is nothing new in any of these statements, except that the Bishop and her advisers continue to advocate for the destruction of arguably Canterbury’s most iconic historic building.
None of the issues raised by the Church, including costs, safety, and engineering are new. They have all been addressed by expert analysts and can easily be resolved by honest, co-operative dialogue. A world of project management expertise, a specialised workforce, international funding and heritage restoration experience are just waiting for a positive decision to use their skills to help restore the Cathedral.
If the leadership of the Anglican Church in Christchurch had not been so committed to the destruction of the Cathedral, the Cathedral would have been well on the way to restoration by now.
The money for its restoration is not a real issue and never has been. It is the will to restore it that has been lacking. The funding and support for doing so has always been there, as evidenced by Mr. Hamish Ogston’s recent offer of $4 million. None of the donated funding would be a burden on the ratepayers of Christchurch.
The destruction of hundreds of historic buildings in our city over the past three years has only served to remind us how important it is to save what is left, particularly given that the Christchurch Cathedral is one of the most important Category 1 historic buildings in New Zealand
Of course the building is damaged, but so was the Art Centre just down the road and that is being restored at a cost of around $300 million.
The Cathedral is a symbol of the past, present and future of the City of Christchurch and its restoration would provide a catalyst to unite and inspire the rebuild of Christchurch and the morale of its citizens.
Every recent poll in Christchurch records growing support for restoration and perhaps the church authorities should be listening to the authentic voice of the people instead of doggedly refusing to respond to their powerful call.
Great Christchurch Building Trust