Christ Church Cathedral a 'symbol of negativity'

Christ Church Cathedral
John Kirk-Anderson/Fairfax NZ

Christ Church Cathedral

The earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral has become a symbol of everything Christchurch's rebuild should not be about, city councillor Jamie Gough says.

Gough, his fellow councillors and Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel were briefed by Bishop Victoria Matthews and architect Sir Miles Warren on Monday on a proposal to rebuild the quake-hit church with modern materials, creating a spacious and modern neo-Gothic interior.

"I've got tired of the negativity and the politicking that surrounds [the cathedral]," Gough said after the briefing.

Sir Miles Warren's scheme to repair the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral was presented to councillors on Monday.
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Sir Miles Warren's scheme to repair the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral was presented to councillors on Monday.

"For me it's turned into a symbol of what we don't want the rebuild to be about."

Gough said he just wanted something to happen with the cathedral without people "point scoring, politicking and fighting court battle after court battle".

"I don't want the negativity, I just want them to make a decision and get on with it.

"I find [the arguments and delays] not useful and quite depressing."

Anglican leaders are considering Warren's proposal as a way to break a legal deadlock over the cathedral. The church has previously said it wanted to demolish the building and build a contemporary replacement. The was delayed by legal challenges from heritage groups. The church then warmed to Warren's compromise option.

Anglican spokesman Reverend Jayson Rhodes would not give a timeframe on when a decision would be made on the cathedral's future.

The church was still meeting with different groups and receiving feedback on its website, he said.

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Cathedral restoration campaigner Jim Anderton, of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, said an approach of making a decision simply to expedite a process would have seen many of Christchurch's heritage buildings demolished.

"You have to have high quality decisions if you want to have a high quality city."

Dalziel would not be drawn on her preferred option and said the council was not taking any formal position on the building's future because the decision rested with the Anglican church.

"We know how challenging these issues are when dealing with a category one heritage building, particularly when the building is well-loved by the city."

The council was keen to "continue the conversation" about the building's future, she said.

Cr Tim Scandrett said he hoped the church would continue talking to the council on the issue, but the decision was the church's to make.

 - Stuff

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