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Council support for Cathedral


Tuesday 4 July 2017

Council support for Cathedral

Christchurch City Council has conditionally agreed to give a $10 million grant towards the reinstatement of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

The grant, proposed to be paid out in instalments over the period of the rebuild, was approved in principle by the Council at an extraordinary meeting on Friday afternoon, but is subject to:

· The Anglican Synod deciding to reinstate the Christ Church Cathedral.
· The Crown and other contributors confirming their financial commitment to the building’s reinstatement.
· Public consultation and the Council’s contribution being confirmed in its 2018-28 Long Term Plan.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the Council unanimously approved the grant saying that the people of Christchurch wanted certainty and action about the Cathedral.

“There was one message that dominated in the opinion poll commissioned by the Anglican Church about the future of the Cathedral. Make a decision now. People just want action,” says Mayor Dalziel.

“When Bishop Victoria Matthews announced that the Anglican Synod would make the decision between reinstatement or full demolition and replacement, the Council needed to act.

“If the Synod decided to demolish the Cathedral, the inevitable legal proceedings would mean more uncertainty for years to come.

“Last Friday the Council decided to back up the Government’s offer to support the reinstatement with a grant of $10 million subject to public consultation,” says Mayor Dalziel.

“This special grant is not in our Long Term Plan, so as soon as the Synod has made its decision, we will institute a special consultative procedure, which will consider the grant and the terms under which such a grant would be made.

“Although such a grant can be seen as recognition of the Cathedral’s heritage status and its important contribution to civic life and the Christchurch visitor experience, it is in fact the desire for certainty about the future of Cathedral Square and what it means for our city’s recovery that drives my wish to see a final decision made that is not subject to litigation,” says Mayor Dalziel.
“The Government’s proposal to legislate, backed by other political parties, gives us the certainty we need to move on.

"In writing to the Bishop to formalise the Council's proposed contribution to the Government's package to support the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral, I noted that Bishop Matthews was only the 8th Bishop since the Diocese was established in 1856. This was the same year that Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter, New Zealand's first city, and the Cathedral was, of course, a seat for the bishop.

"There is an inextricable link between our history of European settlement as a diocese and a city. In many respects, our interests are just as intertwined today as they were then.

"The Government has worked hard to develop an offer which should give the Synod the confidence to make a decision that will not lead to costly and lengthy legal proceedings. It's a circuit-breaker.

"I'm hoping that the Council's proposed contribution will add weight to the Government's offer and at the same time show the Synod that it is not just the fate of the Cathedral that lies in their hands - it's the ability for the heart city to flourish once more."


- ends

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