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Facts omitted, Anglicans claim

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014
Christ Church Cathedral
Joseph Johnson/Fairfax NZ

ICONIC HERITAGE: The Anglican Cathedral is the oldest in NZ and has the highest heritage listing possible.

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The Anglican Church has publicly criticised the group stopping it from deconstructing the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral, saying its review of the church's decision omitted facts and ignored escalating costs.

An advertisement published in The Press today lays out the Church Property Trustees' (CPT) argument against restoring the Christ Church Cathedral after the Canterbury earthquakes.

The notice, headlined "important facts", states there was a "need for the correct information about the Cathedral in the Square to be known".

The CPT focused its criticism on the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) - co-chaired by former Cabinet ministers Jim Anderton and Phillip Burdon - claiming its review of estimates provided to the church by quantity surveyor David Doherr was "not substantiated".

It claimed quantity surveyor Glenn Brown, who was employed by the GCBT to look over the church's figures, could "find no fault" with the advice and figures the CPT had received on how much it would cost to restore or rebuild the cathedral.

"The GCBT 'estimate' merely deleted items from the David Doherr estimates. It was not a newly created, detailed, well-considered estimate produced by a qualified quantity surveyor," the advertisement said.

The notice cited a report issued by Holmes Engineering last month, which indicated there was "not one section" of the remaining building that had been left undamaged.

The building was continuing to deteriorate because of "ongoing weathering and infestation".

"While it is agreed by engineering professionals that it is technically feasible to strengthen and repair the building, no practical solution has been found by any party to provide a sufficient level of worker safety to satisfy Cera's requirements," the CPT said.

The Court of Appeal ruled last July that the CPT held the Cathedral Square land and buildings on trust for the purposes of having a cathedral on the site, and there was no particular design required or any obligation to maintain the cathedral as it was.

The advertisement said CPT had explored various options, including restoring the original building, but decided on a new, contemporary building based on expert advice and public engagement.

No information about the decision-making process had been kept secret, and the public had been given opportunities to provide feedback on the church's plans, the advertisement said.

"The majority of respondents supported a contemporary design for the future cathedral."

The CPT was waiting for the High Court to lift the stay preventing further deconstruction work.

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- The Press

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