Cathedral decision will kick-start millions of dollars in donations - campaigner video

STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

The Synod, the 220-member governing body for Canterbury Anglicans, voted on option "A" for the restoration of the earthquake-damaged cathedral on Saturday at St Christopher's Church in Avonhead.

The decision to restore the Christ Church Cathedral will kick-start donations to bridge the $14 million funding gap, a heritage campaigner says.

The Anglican's governing body, the Synod, voted on Saturday to restore the Christ Church Cathedral, with regeneration minister Nicky Wagner saying work could start before Christmas.

Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Philip Burdon said he expected businesses and members of the public to get behind the project now there was certainty the cathedral would be restored to its past glories.

David Walker/Stuff

History was made today when Anglicans voted to restore the Christ Church Cathedral.

Supermarket company Foodstuffs, which owns New World and Pak 'n Save, have previously pledged $250,000 towards the restoration over five years.

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"I would hope that we would anticipate similar commercial philanthropy as we get behind this building that means so much to the community," Burdon said.

Christ Church Cathedral seen from the air this week.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Christ Church Cathedral seen from the air this week.

Burdon, who has long campaigned to save the cathedral, sa​id he was "delighted, relieved and surprised" by the Synod decision.

Burdon renewed his pledge to personally donate $1m to the restoration of the cathedral. It is understood he had already spent about $600,000 on the legal battle to save the cathedral.

He hoped that English businessman Hamish Ogston would renew his 2012 pledge to donate $4m to the restoration of the cathedral.

Bishop Victoria Matthews announced the decision at the church's Synod meeting.
CARYS MONTEATH/STUFF

Bishop Victoria Matthews announced the decision at the church's Synod meeting.

He said other donors would be "enormously excited" to donate now a decision had been made.

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The Synod members debated three options ahead of the vote on Saturday: restore the cathedral, knock it down and build a new one, or gift the building to the Government.

The Government and Christchurch City Council and the GCBT had pulled together a funding support deal for restoration of the cathedral. 

An aerial shot of Christ Church Cathedral.
DAVID WALKER/STUFF

An aerial shot of Christ Church Cathedral.

The pledges, along with the church's insurance proceeds of nearly $42m, amounted to just over $90m of the estimated $104m restoration cost. The deal also capped the church's contribution to the $42m insurance payout.

Bishop Victoria Matthews said she was "delighted" by the cathedral decision. She said restoration attracted about 55 per cent of the Synod vote.

"Previously, before the very generous government offer, the church would have been in the position of having to fundraise in the neighbourhood of $50 million. That to me was absolutely unacceptable."

"I am completely comfortable with [the decision] ... I have always loved the building, there is no question about that, but I don't think the church is here to be a fundraiser."

She said lawyers for the Church Property Trustees would begin negotiations with the Government to formalise the deal.

"It won't mean we will wake up tomorrow and there will be another cathedral. The paperwork with the lawyers needs to be tidied up and addressed."

"I will let the lawyers speak to the lawyers now. That is the next step."

She said restoration could take up to ten years.

"I might be alive to see it. I don't think I will be the bishop. If we are talking 10 years, I would be elderly by then."

Regeneration minister Nicky Wagner said she hoped work would start on the cathedral before Christmas and said it could be complete in seven years. She hoped that legal agreements with the Church Property Trustees could be signed "within days".

"I would love them to start on Monday, but we need to do the documentation first. There is goodwill on all sides so I think we can get that done in days rather than weeks."

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said consultation on the council's $10 million pledge for restoration would begin after the general election and should be complete by the end of the year. She said she was "really grateful" for the decision

 - Sunday Star Times

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