Cardboard cathedral refused funding

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 11:21 13/07/2012
Cardboard Cathedral

CASH NEEDED: Anglican leaders have asked for public money to help run the transitional cathedral, shown here in an artist's rendering.

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Plans to build a cardboard cathedral in Christchurch have been dealt a financial blow.

A key Christchurch City Council committee today voted not to give the Christ Church Cathedral chapter of the Anglican Church a $240,000 grant towards the project.

Cr Jamie Gough said the decision was a tough one to make, but he believed better uses could be made of ratepayers' money.

He said that although he would personally like to see the cathedral saved, the decision not to approve the grant was not a dig at the Anglican Church.

"I just believe the energy needs to be going into a permanent cathedral in the heart of Christchurch,'' he said.

Cr Peter Beck, who did not take part in the debate over the grant because of his role as former dean of the cathedral presented a conflict of interest, said he understood why the committee had made its decision, but it was disappointing.

The cardboard cathedral was an exciting project that was drawing worldwide interest, he said.

"When it is built, people will be astounded by the design ... and I'm sure it will become a major tourist attraction,'' Beck said.

Metropolitan funding committee chairman Cr Barry Corbett said his decision not to support the grant was a pragmatic one, not a political one.

The annual grant previously given by the council to the Anglican Church was tagged towards the cathedral's visitor centre. The centre was no longer operational, so the grant could not be justified, he said.

The committee's decision needs to be ratified by the full council.

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- The Press

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