$4m cardboard cathedral opposed

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 10:45 08/12/2011
Cardboard Cathedral
TEMPORARY: The cardboard Cathedral would cost $4m.
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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Christchurch's cardboard Anglican cathedral will get no money or public land if Christchurch City Council staff have their way.

City councillors will decide today whether to support or overrule a staff recommendation on the innovative replacement proposal for the earthquake- damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

The proposal for a temporary cathedral made of cardboard, designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, was unveiled in August.

The proposal would cost $4 million, take three months to build and could seat 700 people.

Cathedral dean Peter Beck, who resigned yesterday to seek a city council seat in a by-election, had hoped to find a site and complete the project in time for the first anniversary of the February quake.

The council report for today's meeting rejects the cathedral's preference of building the cardboard replacement in Hagley Park.

"There is strong opposition internally to such a building being placed on Hagley Park for potentially 10 years, not least of all the public perception of the loss of a large area of public space," the report says.

It says a cardboard cathedral in Hagley Park could disrupt sporting fixtures and events like the Ellerslie International Flower Show.

The report rejects helping fund the proposal on private land as it would set a precedent for other groups.

Council staff recommends that cathedral leaders consider church-owned land in the city centre left empty after the quake.

Mayor Bob Parker said the recommendation was the "starting point for a debate".

"When it comes to Hagley Park, the issue is around the length of time they would be looking to have a temporary building in a public space," he said.

"Ten years is a big ask for a piece of public land to be tied up for a decade with one group or organisation."

Beck said the final decision was for councillors.

"It is up to councillors to consider it and we await their response. We have a warm and friendly relationship with council and we hope that will continue," he said.

Diocese communications and media officer Philip Baldwin said he was surprised by the recommendation.

He said he did not think Bishop Victoria Matthews was aware of the recommendation.

Parker backed the cardboard cathedral proposal when it was unveiled in August.

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"I don't think it will be too difficult to find a place to put a new temporary cathedral," he said.

Parker was absent at the cathedral's deconsecration ceremony last month.

Councillors appear divided over the staff recommendation.

Cr Yani Johanson said he was shocked by the staff recommendation.

"We need to get things happening and this project would appear to help that," Johanson said.

"I have no qualms about using council land. What is the point of council having land if it is not put to use?"

Cr Aaron Keown said the cardboard cathedral should not be given public support.

"The people of Christchurch don't want money spent on something that would only be there for a year or two," he said.

"They don't want money wasted on temporary things. They want the money put into the real deal coming back."

Wooden spire

A7

- The Press

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