Christ Church Cathedral announcement before Christmas
A decision on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral will be announced before Christmas, church and recovery leaders say.
Greater Christchurch regeneration minister Gerry Brownlee and Bishop Victoria Matthews issued a joint statement this week confirming an announcement would be made in the "second half of December".
"Because of the travel commitments of both Bishop Victoria Matthews and Minister Gerry Brownlee, any announcement will not be made until the second half of December."
* Cathedral working group investigating how to restore historic Christchurch building
* Five years after quake damage, Govt announces 'working party' for cathedral
* Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews returns to New Zealand to consider cathedral plans, sources say
A working group tasked with breaking deadlock on the Christ Church Cathedral was appointed in July and was expected to make recommendations on the building to government and church leaders by Monday. A final report was expected to be delivered on December 7.
In September, working group chairman Geoff Dangerfield said the group was only looking at options to restore the building to its previous state.
Dangerfield said in September that the group were investigating how to "repair, restore and, in some parts, rebuild" the cathedral and were being "careful to ensure the building retains its external appearance as much as possible". The group's recommendations will be non-binding.
Sources close to the working group believe a restoration deal between the church and government is close. Earlier this month, Matthews reportedly returned earlier than expected from overseas to consider the deal.
The Anglican cathedral has been sitting damaged in Christchurch's city centre for more than five years, with no clear decision on its possible fate.
The working party's instructions from government, obtained under the Official Information Act by Fairfax in September, task the group with identifying "feasible, achievable and fully costed options to progress the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral".
Dangerfield said "reinstatement" meant a "mixture of restoration, repair and rebuild".
The working group is tasked with working up practical restoration options for the cathedral and a feasible plan to fund the work.