Cathedral shortfall $50m
About half of Christ Church Cathedral's $40 million insurance payout will be spent before the rebuild begins, court documents show.
Papers obtained by The Press from a High Court challenge brought by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) against the building owner, the Church Property Trust (CPT), shows the Anglican diocese expects to retain just $20m from its insurance payout from ACS.
It would leave the diocese facing a minimum $50m shortfall, based on its own estimates, to restore or re build the central-city landmark.
Church spokeswoman Fiona Summerfield said other than construction of a new cathedral in Cathedral Square, the payout would be spent only on:
Protective measures around the site.
Professional advice, such as engineering reports.
Construction of the transitional, "cardboard" cathedral.
Summerfield did not respond to questions about the significance of the financial setback, how advanced fundraising plans were or whether the church was confident funds could be raised for a timely rebuild. However, court papers show the diocese hoped to implement a fundraising campaign soon.
The cost of four rebuild options designed by Warren and Mahoney were estimated by quantity surveyor David Doherr, of Davis Langdon, at between $73.5m and $84.3m, excluding GST. Restoring the cathedral was estimated to cost between $95m and $109.2m, excluding GST.
Doherr said escalating costs because of delays was a "significant issue" that had to be factored into estimates.
Maximum retention of the cathedral could blow out to more than $132m if work was not completed in the next 15 years, the report said.
Fundraising expert and GCBT supporter Graeme Brady, who raised money for Westminster, Ely, Liverpool and Salisbury cathedrals in Britain, said attracting donors would be hard and was likely to take three years.
His offer of free fundraising services after the quake was rejected. "I've worked with both new cathedrals and old cathedrals and it's the old cathedrals, for which people have strong nostalgiac feelings, that are the easiest to raise money for," Brady said.
The diocese had "alienated" groups most likely to fund the restoration, he said.
An individual appeal to Cantabrians would at best raise $100,000, Brady said.
Diocese chief operations officer Gavin Holley said in court documents that the quakes had left the CPT in a "precarious" financial position, with two-thirds of its building left damaged. The CPT expected a $30m insurance shortfall between the payout and its full loss.
Bishop Victoria Matthews said in her affidavit that maintaining the damaged cathedral was a cost and financial risk the diocese "simply cannot bear".
". . . it would be bad stewardship and unfaithful to the mission of the diocese to make such a large financial commitment to one structure," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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