Christchurch Cathedral's future uncertain

Posted 29 Sep 2011 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Heritage , Media
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Christchurch's earthquake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament might never be rebuilt.

Engineers working on the building say cathedral leaders are considering all options for the future of the building.

The badly damaged rear of the cathedral is being deconstructed so the nave can safely be inspected by engineers.

Opus structural engineer Jamie Lester said not rebuilding the cathedral was an option.

"That is always one option. Whether it has any merit is still to be determined," he said. "The diocese are keen to look at all the options because they have wider things to consider with the rest of their churches. They have to look at all of their churches as well as the basilica and how things stack up financially.

"The options are to build a new building adjacent or elsewhere that would fulfil the same function as the basilica if they didn't see any merit in keeping it. There is quite a significant cost in strengthening the remaining nave section."

The rear of the building should be deconstructed by October 25, he said. Once the nave had been inspected for damage, the cost of strengthening work could be calculated.

Opus Consulting project manager John Craig said no decisions had been made on the future of the building.

"They are deconstructing the unstable rear part of the building. Engineers are not keen to enter the nave until we have got the upper portion of the dome base down and secured," he said.

"There are a lot of options floating around at the moment, but the cathedral trust haven't made any decisions about where it is going yet.

"At the moment, all of the options are on the table – rebuild, replace, relocate."

Cathedral management board chairman Lance Ryan did not return calls yesterday.

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