Fresh damage to Christ Church Cathedral to be assessed

The Valentines day 5.7 quake caused more of the already damaged front of Christ Church Cathedral to fall away.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The Valentines day 5.7 quake caused more of the already damaged front of Christ Church Cathedral to fall away.

The Anglican Church plans to get a fresh assessment of Christ Church Cathedral amid concern the Valentines Day earthquake has further damaged the building.

Sunday's 5.7 magnitude earthquake appeared to cause more of the historic cathedral to crumble and fall away from the steel props that have held up the front of the building for the past few years.

Reverend Jayson Rhodes, spokesman for the Anglican Church, said some Church Property Trustees had done a walk-by of the cathedral after the earthquake, but a thorough inspection had yet to be done. 

The front of Christ Church Cathedral after Sunday's earthquake.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The front of Christ Church Cathedral after Sunday's earthquake.

"There needs to be a wider inspection and the trustees are organising for that to happen," Rhodes said.

Great Christchurch Building Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Jim Anderton had yet to view the damage to the Cathedral, but he doubted whether it was significant.

The odd bit of falling masonry was to be expected. The cathedral had withstood about 15,000 aftershocks and he doubted it was going to fall over now.

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"The main thing you need to look at is the roofline. If it is still as straight as a gun barrell, as I suspect it is, that is all that matters because basically it is the reinforced roofing ... that has kept the building together.

"What it does point to is the sooner the building is restored properly, up to full standard, the better. If anything it gives urgency with getting on with it," Anderton said.

Most Anglican church services around Christchurch were cancelled on Sunday night as a precaution. An ordination did go ahead at the Transitional Cathedral after an assessment deemed it safe.

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Rhodes said the Anglican diocese owned around 270 churches and halls. Those considered most at risk would be checked over the coming days to ensure there were no safety concerns. 

"Checking buildings that people are still using is the first priority and it is possible there will be some precautionary closures over the next few days," he said.

 - Stuff

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