Parker says it's time to move forward

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013
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Most people favour a modern Christ Church Cathedral, a new Anglican poll has revealed.

The results come as Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker calls for an end to the debate over the future of the quake-damaged cathedral so the city can move on.

Three options for a new cathedral were made public last month: a contemporary building; a restoration of the original cathedral; or a traditional design with modern materials.

The contemporary building attracted 51 per cent of the 3741 votes on the Anglican website, compared to 29.1 per cent for the restoration and 13.5 per cent for the traditional design. About 6 per cent of voters had no preference.

Anglican leaders will meet in June to decide on the design.

Parker said the city needed to move on.

"That is a pretty significant majority of people saying don't spend the money and time restoring the cathedral, consider something that takes us forward," he said.

"People who want to save the cathedral say they are going to fight this to the end of the earth. It is a great shame that as a city we will spend potentially years with a severely-damaged building at the heart of our city. I can't think of a worse symbol at this time of recovery.

"When the cathedral leaders have made their considered decision, whatever that decision is we should help them get on with it. We need to have dealt with this issue as a city. Not everyone will be happy, but we need to move on."

A Press online poll has attracted nearly 19,000 votes, with a narrow majority favouring restoration.

About 38 per cent of voters want the current building repaired, with 35 per cent voting for the contemporary scheme and 21 per cent favouring the traditional design.

Cathedral restoration campaigner Mark Belton said the Anglican poll was unhelpful.

"People have been spooked by information that has been put out there about possible costs for restoration and lingering anxieties about safety," he said.

"We now know this building can be restored."

Anglican spokesman Jayson Rhodes said the cathedral debate was not over.

"The public engagement has been a really crucial element. It won't end the debate, but it is another step forward in the cathedral's decision-making process," he said.

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- The Press

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