Cardboard cathedral 'ready to go'

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 11:45 04/01/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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A planned temporary cardboard cathedral for Christchurch could be built on Anglican land and completed by June.

Christ Church Cathedral leaders are in talks with a Christchurch parish that has a site left empty by the Canterbury quakes.

The cardboard cathedral, designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, would cost $4 million, take three months to build, and could seat 700 people.

The cardboard building would act as a temporary home while long term decisions are made about the earthquake-damaged cathedral in the city centre.

Christchurch City Council staff last month recommended against allowing the cardboard cathedral to be built in Hagley Park.

Convener of the transitional cathedral group for the Anglican diocese, Richard Gray, said they were keen to get on and build the cardboard replacement.

"There was a lot of politics over using Hagley Park, which is very precious to a lot of people ... In the end we thought: 'We can't be bothered with this, we will just use an Anglican site and get on with it'," he said.

"We have got everybody organised and ready to go. We are really excited about the new year and hope it will be a positive thing for the diocese and for Canterbury.

"It [the cardboard cathedral] won't just be a centre for the diocese, but a good venue for other organisations."

Gray said he was "very hopeful" the parish would give permission to use their empty site for the cardboard cathedral. He said the congregation had been given time to consider the proposal and hoped for a decision on Monday.

"It is the closest we have ever been by a long shot to finding somewhere suitable. We want them to come to that decision themselves without any pressure."

The Christ Church Cathedral was further damaged in the December 23 quakes. The west wall, which was partially damaged in the June quakes, has completely collapsed.

Gray said the fresh damage made it difficult to complete make-safe plans.

"It is changing all the time so all the requirements are changing all the time."

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