Fundraising targets for Christ Church Cathedral restoration 'very optimistic'

Synod members will decide the fate of the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral in September.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

Synod members will decide the fate of the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral in September.

Permission to demolish the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral could be won in three to six years and fundraising targets for restoration are "very optimistic", Synod members are being told at meetings ahead of their September vote on the fate of the cathedral.

Members routinely gather at public meetings across the South Island ahead of every Anglican Synod. Two meetings have taken place so far, where members have been shown a 30-minute video outlining options for the cathedral.

About 40 Synod members and parishioners gathered in St John the Baptist church in Rangiora on Wednesday night.

The Christ Church Cathedral has been sitting derelict in the city centre for over six years. It is now home to pigeons ...
ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

The Christ Church Cathedral has been sitting derelict in the city centre for over six years. It is now home to pigeons and rats.

The 225-member governing body for Canterbury Anglicans includes elected lay members and priests. About 20 people met in Ashburton and about 60 met in west Christchurch last week. Four more meetings are planned this month at St Barnabas Church on Tui St in Christchurch on Thursday night, Halswell on Tuesday, New Brighton on July 26 and Timaru on July 27.

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A video shown to people at the meetings includes advice from barrister Richard Fowler and fundraising consultant Julie Johnson.

Fowler said resource consent for demolition of the cathedral could be obtained.

"The city plan specifically contemplates the possible demolition of the cathedral. If the plan contemplates that you would think you have the wind behind you," he said in the video.

He said the consent process would not take 10 years, as claimed by heritage campaigners.

"In my view, you are looking at between three and six years. I would be very surprised if it was as long as 10 years."

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Johnson, managing director of Australian philanthropy consultants O'Keefe and Partners,said fundraising plans for restoration were a "very high risk".

She said a 2016 funding report included in the Government's Cathedral Working Group report on the building was "very optimistic in its conclusion".

Synod members will vote in early September on whether to reinstate the cathedral or demolish it and build a contemporary replacement.

 - Stuff

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