04 Mar 2012
The Cathedral Project Team (that includes representatives from the Cathedral Chapter, Church Property Trustees, Standing Committee and Cathedral staff, as well as consulting experts in specialist areas such as engineering and heritage) put together this recommendation for consideration by the Cathedral Chapter. It was then voted on by Standing Committee and Church Property Trustees.
Standing Committee: A committee of elected members of the Diocese – both clergy and non-clergy
Church Property Trustees: Oversee the Trust that owns all Anglican Diocese of Christchurch properties.
Cathedral Chapter: The council who administers the Cathedral
All these groups are unpaid and voluntary.
This decision is required to address the Section 38 notice under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 administered by CERA.
We anticipate completing the works by the end of the year. The actual length of time will depend on progress of the deconstruction and controlled demolition works but the sequence is is likely to be as follows: an initial two months retrieving stained glass windows and protecting heritage items, then developing and tendering detailed methodology to CERA followed by 6-8 months deconstruction and controlled demolition works.
In regards to insurance, even with the best possible payout scenario there will still be a substantial and significant shortfall in financing a new Cathedral. Ansvar, the insurer for all the church properties in Christchurch, left New Zealand at the end of 2011. The Church Property Trust is still in discussion with Ansvar but their departure has made discussions more prolonged.
There is a specific Cathedral fund and the money is kept separate from other Diocesan business.
It is not responsible to leave a building in such an unsafe situation. We are responsible for the building so we are required to make the building safe and clearly we do not want anyone to be injured on the site. The building was insured and the insurance money is allocated to this work and cannot be used for other things.
The Diocese of Christchurch is a large diocese and many churches have sustained damage or become dangerous because of the seismic activity that has happened over the last eighteen months. We are very concerned that no one is injured by a church property. Over 25 worship centres have been closed. Five churches have had to be demolished or will be very shortly, along with a number of chapels. A number of these decisions have had to be made since the December 23 quakes. Significantly St Mary’s in Timaru, the largest stone parish church in the Diocese, has had to be closed and it is possible with ongoing seismic activity, more may have to be closed for safety. All of these buildings are dearly loved by their parishioners and local communities.
Quite a number of items have already been retrieved including: the eagle from the lectern, the Tukutuku panels, a number of the flags that were hung in the cathedral including the blue ensign from one of the first four ships, the Charlotte Jane and Girls Brigade and Boys Brigade flags. Choral groups organ from the chancel, cathedral choir music, carved stone head from the Pacific chapel, war grave cross from Flanders, chalices (used during communion) and the pounamu door from the aumbry (in the sanctuary of the church used to keep the wafers and wine for communion once they have been blessed).
Some of the significant heritage items and taonga that we are still hoping to retrieve are: the stained glass windows, Bishop Harper’s effigy, the organ, the remains of the pulpit and the memorial stones and panels along the walls.
The context in which Miyamoto gave an opinion on the Cathedral, has changed since the events of 23 December and the further damage sustained by the cathedral. The Cathedral is now closed due to the danger it poses to human safety.
Our engineering consultancy, Holmes, are expert and know all there is to know about the Cathedral given their long association with us and the building over the last decade. Over this time, they have gained not only a deep knowledge but a great affection for the Cathedral and we have the utmost confidence in their work.
The demolition of a building in a manner that allows for the careful removal of some elements that can then be stored for either incorporation in a future building or stored for other possible conservation projects. Conventional demolition of a building does not allow for this.
At this stage we do not know when that will be. The future Cathedral works are only part of a number of building demolitions that are still to happen in the Square and these will also be a factor as to when the public can have access to the area.
The preference would be to build on the current site. However, as with all sites in the central city, including the Christchurch Cathedral, safety is the first priority and further investigations would need to be undertaken as part of the future design process.
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