Campaigners tight-lipped over size of cathedral restoration fund

Five years on and the fate of Christchurch's Anglican cathedral is still up in the air.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Five years on and the fate of Christchurch's Anglican cathedral is still up in the air.

A group fighting for the restoration of Christ Church Cathedral is keeping tight-lipped about how much money has been pledged through its fundraising campaign.

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust is attempting to raise funds for what is thought to be a $75 million shortfall for the potential restoration of the cathedral.

Trust co-chairman Philip Burdon said in December $6m had already been pledged by supporters, including $1m from himself, $4m from an English rich-lister, and $1m from another anonymous Kiwi, but is now refusing to comment on how much additional funding has been secured.

The Valentines Day quake caused more of Christ Church Cathedral to crumble.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The Valentines Day quake caused more of Christ Church Cathedral to crumble.

"We've had very generous expressions of interest and and we will certainly be able to satisfy the Government's concerns about fundraising," Burdon said.

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Late last year, a report by government-appointed mediator Miriam Dean QC found the cathedral could be either reconstructed to be "indistinguishable" from its pre-quake state or replaced.

On the back of that report Bishop Victoria Matthews announced the Church Property Trust, which owns the cathedral, would have another look at the safety and cost issues of reinstatement. If they were manageable, a working group would lead an effort to revitalise the stricken building, Matthews said.

The other alternative for the Anglican diocese was to build a new, contemporary cathedral at a cost of about $66m.

An announcement on which option the diocese is going to pursue is expected in April.

Burdon would not be drawn on which option he believed CPT favoured.

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"We understand there is ongoing consultation between the Church and the Government but we know no more than that," he said.

In the meantime, the CPT is still assessing how much fresh damage the cathedral sustained in the 5.7 magnitude earthquake that hit on Valentines Day. 

The quake appeared to cause more of the front of the cathedral to crumble away, prompting the CPT to order a fresh engineering assessment of the building.  

A spokeswoman for the Anglican diocese said on Tuesday the trustees had received the engineer's report, but were still going through the findings. They expected to be in a position to release more details about the condition of the cathedral soon.

Burdon said he had been told the engineers had concluded there was no significant change to the cathedral's condition. 

 - Stuff

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