Call for TV cathedral debate

03:28, Mar 05 2012
PUTTING UP A FIGHT: Aaron Keown and the Wizard discuss plans to save the Christ Church Cathedral after the announcement that it will be demolished.

A televised debate on the future of Christ Church Cathedral needs to be held, a city councillor says.

Cr Aaron Keown today emailed New Zealand's news networks asking for one to ''host the biggest debate in the earthquake recovery of Christchurch''.

He said the public needed to hear all the facts in an "open and transparent" forum before the "symbol of our city" was lost forever.

Bishop Victoria Mathews
Bishop Victoria Matthews announces the fate of the Christ Church Cathedral in the Botanic Gardens.

There were too many conflicting opinions about whether it could be saved, he said.

Cardno engineer Michael King said he supported the debate.

King, who was commissioned by the Christchurch City Council to review the work by cathedral engineers Holmes Consulting Group, said the cathedral should be retained as an icon of the city.

An international fundraising effort could cover the cost, he said.

"You could get 100 engineering experts from around the world that will tell you that building can be saved. I've had offers from many of them who want to come here and help," King said.

Keown said last week the cathedral would be demolished "over my dead body".

"I would be in there chaining myself to the building to stop that and I know lots of other volunteers would come in to do that," he said.

Keown said  today the debate needed to happen, regardless of what the outcome was.

Bishop Victoria Mathews confirmed last week the cathedral would be deconstructed.


The Press