No deal on Christ Church Cathedral before Christmas video

Stuff.co.nz

The Christ Church Cathedral restoration deal misses deadline.

Central city landowners and developers are frustrated at further delays on a deal to restore the Christ Church Cathedral.

An agreement to restore the quake-damaged cathedral in central Christchurch will not be made before Christmas.

Anglicans had previously stated there would be an announcement on the future of the cathedral before December 25 this year.

No announcement will be made on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral before Christmas after parties failed to reach ...
GRANT MATTHEW

No announcement will be made on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral before Christmas after parties failed to reach an agreement.

The Government and Anglican property trustees were unable to agree on the terms of a deal that would see the cathedral in central Christchurch restored, Stuff understands.

The talks may have faltered because the Government this week changed the terms of the deal, it is understood.

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A spokeswoman for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee said the Government contribution to cathedral restoration had not altered.

"The Crown contribution has not changed," she said.

A statement from the Anglican diocese said Bishop Victoria Matthews was "greatly saddened" a deal could not be reached this year "given the tireless work of the Cathedral Working Group and Church Property Trustees and staff".

The statement said that on Tuesday Matthews and trustees were "sure there would be a positive announcement in this week before Christmas".

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​"The trustees will keep working towards a resolution in the new year," Matthews said.

A Brownlee spokeswoman said the talks had not collapsed and would continue next year.

"While nothing has been concluded at this stage, discussions will resume in the new year," the spokeswoman said.

Christchurch developers were frustrated at the delay. City Owners Rebuild Entity chairman and developer Ernest Duval said landowners were back to the "waiting game".

"People were hoping to get some level of closure by the end of the year so they could have certainty in the new year," he said.

"We are approaching six years now and that should be enough time to make a decision on which way to go."

Property developer Miles Yeoman owns the former Press building site on Cathedral Square. He said he would not develop the site until a cathedral decision was made.

"It is frustrating that a decision can't be made. It is not that hard. We have built 14 buildings in the last five years and had to battle bureaucracy."

It is understood church trustees are hopeful of a resolution in the new year. Trustees met several times this week to try and reach a restoration deal before Christmas.

Great Christchurch Buildings Trust co-chairman Jim Anderton, who has campaigned to restore the building, said the delay was disappointing.

"We have to be optimistic. [The delay] is not a matter of whether restoration is viable, it is a matter of funding, I think."

Restoration options for the cathedral were considered by Prime Minister Bill English's new cabinet on Tuesday. The options were proposed by a working group formed by the Government in June to break the deadlock over the cathedral.

After the cabinet meeting, Brownlee said talks were continuing with the Anglican diocese.

"Proposals from the working group were considered by cabinet today, however discussions continue with the church property trustees," he said.

"Details about what was discussed at cabinet will remain confidential."

The working group was tasked with finding a solution for the cathedral, which has been sitting derelict in central Christchurch for nearly six years since the deadly earthquake that struck the city on February 22, 2011.

It was asked to identify "feasible, achievable and fully-costed options to progress the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral".

Working group chairman Geoff Dangerfield said in September that "reinstatement" meant a "mixture of restoration, repair and rebuild".

The group made non-binding recommendations on the building to the Government and Anglican church trustees on November 28.

In November, the Anglican church posted a statement on its website saying an announcement would be made before Christmas.

"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."

Timeline:

October 2011 - Bishop Victoria Matthews announces cathedral will be deconsecrated and partially demolished.

November 2011 - Cathedral is deconsecrated.

December 2011 - Dean Peter Beck resigns.

February 2012 - Matthews calls cathedral a "very dangerous building" in a Press ad.

March 2012 - Matthews announces the cathedral will be partially demolished down to the windowsills.

April 2012 - Demolition of damaged cathedral tower commences.

July 2012 - Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) claims cathedral could be restored safely and $50 million could be raised in private funding.

August 2012 - GCBT take Anglican church to High Court to stop demolition.

November 2012 - High Court preliminary ruling puts hold on demolition.

February 2013: Matthews says cathedral is "being left to die with no dignity" because of legal action.

April 2013 - Anglicans present three options for building - Restore, rebuild in modern style and rebuild in traditional style.

July 2013 - Court of Appeal gives Anglicans green light to demolish.

September 2013 - Anglicans choose to replace cathedral with new, modern building.

December 2013 - Supreme Court rejects appeal to preserve cathedral.

October 2015 - Mediator Miram Deans QC appointed by the Government to break cathedral deadlock.

December 2015 - Church leaders and government announce "reinstatement" of cathedral is being considered.

June 2016 - The Government appoints a working party to consider restoration options and break deadlock on cathedral.

November 2016 - Working party delivers non-binding restoration recommendations to the Government and Anglicans.

 - Stuff

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