Cathedral plan now detailed, group says

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013

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The Government has rejected a plan to make the Christ Church Cathedral safe but the group behind the proposal claims it has been further developed and meets all concerns.

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, which is campaigning to save the cathedral, presented a concept plan to make the building safe to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) last year.

A document filed with the High Court by the Anglican Church this week reveals Cera does not favour the plan. The proposal involves inserting a large frame into the cathedral to provide a safe space for workers. Other frames will then be erected inside.

A December 2012 memo written by Cera operations general manager Baden Ewart, said the plan "fails to address significant matters".

"I consider workers would be required to leave the safe havens for an unacceptable length of time necessary to erect the frames within the cathedral," the memo states.

"The proposal does not address how the aisle and nave frames are erected within the cathedral without workers leaving the protection of the safe haven."

But trust chairman Jim Anderton said the plan had been fully developed since it was presented to Cera last year.

"It was a concept of how it could be done and more work needed to be done," he said.

"We now have a much more detailed plan completed with the benefit of new information about how the cathedral had been reinforced for earthquake-proofing purposes in the 1990s.

"Our engineers have said this can be done up to the highest levels of safety."

Cathedral leaders filed the papers with the High Court yesterday. The papers include a memo stating they would consider extra engineering information completed by the trust before making a decision on the future of the cathedral.

But the memo states that extra information must be presented to the church by tomorrow because the building needed to be made safe to recover valuable heritage items.

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- The Press

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