Cathe­dral de­ci­sion kick-starts cash

Sunday News - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE GATES

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

The Angli­cans’ gov­ern­ing body, the Synod, voted yes­ter­day to re­store the cathe­dral, with Re­gen­er­a­tion Min­is­ter Nicky Wag­ner say­ing work could start be­fore Christ­mas.

Great Christchurch Build­ings Trust co-chair­man Philip Bur­don said su­per­mar­ket com­pany Food­stuffs had pre­vi­ously pledged $250,000 to­wards the restora­tion over five years.

Bur­don, who has long cam­paigned to save the cathe­dral, said he was ‘‘de­lighted, re­lieved and sur­prised’’ by the Synod de­ci­sion.

‘‘I would hope that we would an­tic­i­pate sim­i­lar com­mer­cial phi­lan­thropy as we get be­hind this build­ing that means so much to the com­mu­nity.’’

Bur­don re­newed his $1m pledge and said he hoped that English busi­ness­man Hamish Ogston would re­new his 2012 pledge of $4m.

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

The Gov­ern­ment and Christchurch City Coun­cil had pulled to­gether a fund­ing sup­port deal for restora­tion but 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 but restora­tion could take up to a decade. ‘‘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.’’

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’’.

‘‘There is good­will on all sides so I think we can get that done in days rather than weeks.’’

The restora­tion of Christ Church Cathe­dral could take up to a decade.

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