23 Dec 2015

Church to reconsider future of cathedral

8:36 pm on 23 December 2015

The quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral could be restored but that it would cost $105 million and would be a complex and risky project, an independent report has found.

Bishop Victoria Matthews and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee at today's announcement

Bishop Victoria Matthews and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee at Wednesday's announcement. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The Anglican Church said today it will consider the restoration of the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral, after years of deadlocks.

Miriam Dean QC was appointed by the Government to break the deadlock between the church and those who opposed its demolition and her findings were released this afternoon.

She found that reinstatement would require repair, restoration, and reconstruction, which could be completed by 2022.

The Anglican Church said it will continue to talk to the government about the challenges of safety and cost, through a new working group.

Another option was replacing the Cathedral with a new contemporary building.

But one of the advocates for reinstating the Christ Church Cathedral was confident the money could be found to do the job.

Great Christchurch Buildings Trust spokesperson Jim Anderton said he was confident a funding gap of up to $40 million to reinstate the church could be met.

"We've got international corporates and wealthy individuals who all have expressed significant interest in this building. So the option of moving forward with restoration really is the only option."

He said demolishing the cathedral was now firmly off the table.

The announcement was made this afternoon by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews, in front of the cathedral.

The city's most recognisable building has sat empty and in a bad state of repair since the February 2011 earthquake that caused its spire to collapse.

The church's decision to demolish it down to three metres was challenged by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, a group set up to save the building from the wrecker's ball.

Christchurch cathedral.

Christchurch cathedral. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The group succeeded in winning a High Court injunction preventing demolition - but this was later overturned.

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