Cathedral decision kick-starts cash
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.