The Herald reports:
The Anglican Diocese of Christchurch has announced today that it will consider gifting the earthquake-crippled Christ Church Cathedral to the Government “for the people of New Zealand”.
It’s been more than six years since the Gothic-style 136-year-old cathedral was badly damaged in the 6.3-magnitude February 22, 2011 earthquake that devastated the Garden City.
Arguments over whether the building in the heart of Christchurch should be restored to its former glory, partly-reinstated, or demolished and replaced with a modern new building have raged between the church, heritage campaigners, and the wider public over the past six-and-a-half years.
Today, in a shock move, the church has announced that members of its Synod will this week consider three, not two, options regarding the future of the Christ Church Cathedral at a series of area meetings.
“The new option is for the Synod to gift the Cathedral building to the Government for the people of New Zealand,” the church said in a statement.
This is quite a cunning move. Everyone is demanding that the Church agree to restore the Cathedral and have offered money for this. But it is the Church who wears the risks of cost escalation and ongoing maintenance.
So offering to gift it to the Crown is a cunning move.
“By gifting the Cathedral building to the Government, it would be reinstated to its former glory and managed by them on behalf of all New Zealanders for use as a public space. I am not saying that will happen but it is a possibility I think we need to put before the Synod.”
Personally I think if you are going to spend $100 million in Christchurch, I’d rather spend it on new facilities such as a stadium, arts precinct etc rather than restore a church.