Cardboard cathedral plans at risk

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012
cardboard

PLACE OF WORSHIP: An artist's rendering of the cardboard cathedral.

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Funding for the cardboard cathedral could be in jeopardy after a judge ruled that Christ Church Cathedral insurance money might not be used for the project.

Anglican leaders had planned to use $4 million of insurance money from Christ Church Cathedral to fund the $5.3m transitional project near Latimer Square.

But Justice Chisholm said on Thursday that the insurance money should be used for a project on the original Cathedral Square site.

"Given the site-specific purpose of the cathedral trust, it is difficult to see how any insurance proceeds arising from the insurance over the cathedral could be used off-site," he ruled.

The ruling was made as part of a case bought by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, claiming the Anglican Church's deconstruction plans breached an act of Parliament protecting church buildings and that the church trustees were obliged to repair the cathedral.

A decision released on Thursday put a hold on demolition of the cathedral but said the church was not required to replicate the building as it stood before the Canterbury earthquakes.

The High Court decision also granted a judicial review of the cathedral decision.

The temporary cathedral, which will seat 700 people, is expected to open in February.

Trust co-chairman Philip Burdon said the church would have to abide by the judge's ruling on the insurance funds.

"The judge has ruled that all insurance money be applied to the rebuild of the cathedral and that is clearly a reality that the church will have to respect," he said.

Anglican diocese legal representative Jared Ormsby said the funding would have to be reconsidered.

"We have to look at that again in light of what the judge is saying," he said.

"He is not saying the transitional cathedral itself is a bad decision, but you need to quite quickly have a look at the funding question and sort that out as quickly as we can. We may need to get further clarity from the court."

Ormsby said the ruling was "tentative" and they would ask for clarification from the judge. "The way he has expressed it, that is a tentative view, so we may need to go back to the judge for clarification," he said.

"The trustees want to do things right and follow the law and stick to the trust, so they have to decide how they go about that."

A spokeswoman for the Anglican diocese said the ruling did not question the legality of the transitional cathedral.

"The judge has not said the decision made on how to fund the transitional cathedral is illegal or unlawful," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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