Catholic cathedral restoration going ahead

DAVID WALKER/The Press

Christchurch's quake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament will be revamped to the tune of $45 million over four years.

A $45-million revamp of Christchurch's quake-damage Catholic cathedral has been given the green light to start before the end of the year.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has issued a section 38 notice allowing diocese leaders to start deconstructing parts of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes St.

It will take a year to investigate whether the nave – the central part of the church and about 2/3 of the building – can be saved and work on design.

Property and development manager for the Diocese Keith Beal, left, and diocesan financial administrator Paddy Beban are ...
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Property and development manager for the Diocese Keith Beal, left, and diocesan financial administrator Paddy Beban are delighted plans to restore the catholic cathedral are going ahead.

The plan would only go ahead if the nave could be saved, the diocese announced on Tuesday.

Otherwide, the cathedral will be fully demolished and a new one built on the same site.

If it can be saved, it will take three to four years from the end of 2016 to complete the partial reconstruction.

Work on the restoration of Christchurch's quake-damage Catholic cathedral will start before the end of the year.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Work on the restoration of Christchurch's quake-damage Catholic cathedral will start before the end of the year.

Catholic leaders announced the plans to demolish and rebuild parts of the cathedral around the retained central space in May and applied to the section 38 notice in June.

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Deconstruction would take place in 12 stages, with Cera's approval required at every step of the way, the diocese said.

The Catholic cathedral in central Christchurch is a category one heritage building and was completed in 1905.
DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ

The Catholic cathedral in central Christchurch is a category one heritage building and was completed in 1905.

Cathedral management board chairman Lance Ryan said stage one, which was expected to take 12 months, would mostly consist of clearing the areas around the nave so a fuller investigation could be carried out on the ground underneath.

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"Depending on the outcome of those studies, we very much hope that the beautiful nave can be saved," he said.

Bishop Barry Jones said the the diocese was "overjoyed" it could finally move forward.

"We couldn't be happier."

Many families had been baptised and married in the cathedral and to retain it would be significant for them, he said.

Costs to deconstruct the badly damaged surrounds and to restore and rebuild the nave and associated sections are capped at $45 million. The diocese said it was seeking to fundraise $15m in support of the plan.

Keith Beal, property and development manager for the diocese, said the section notice 38 application contained more than 400 pages.

Detailed engineering assessments focussed on the retention of the nave will start later this year.

 - Stuff

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