Cathedral repair bill intimidating

Posted 17 Feb 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Heritage , Rebuild , Media , Demolition
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It would take 60 stonemasons three years to rebuild the Catholic Cathedral in Christchurch and the wages bill could be up to $40 million.

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament leaders are still considering whether to restore the quake-damaged building for about $100m or build a new cathedral for about $40m. The earthquakes have badly damaged the cathedral and much of the building has been taken down.

The nave is the only intact part left.

Cathedral leaders met this week to discuss plans for the building, but have deferred a decision to the bishop.

Cathedral quantity surveyor Bryan Graham said restoring the building to its original form would be a "massive task".

"You would have to take it down, do extensive groundwork, including 30-metre piles, and then start rebuilding. I don't think you could ever rebuild it exactly the same way," he said.

Cathedral management board chairman Lance Ryan said the building needed to be considered in the context of the many damaged Catholic buildings in Canterbury. "We need to consult the bishop. We are tied up with the whole diocese and all the other buildings that are damaged. We are looking for a lot of direction from the bishop. The three options are to repair, rebuild or mothball the building," he said. "The engineering reports say it would cost about $100m to rebuild. It is a very hard decision because we haven't got $100m."

prophets and losses   #47   12:49 pm Feb 19 2012


How is a Christian Cathedral relevant today when less than 5 % of the population attend any church weekly?

For the majority of citizens God is Dead.

The Chch Cathedral had devolved to a glorified gift shop/tourist attraction, more than a living functioning and relevant spiritual home.

They didn't insure it, I resent any public money being used to rebuild a symbol that doesn't have the majority support in the community to rebuild it themselves.

Its not relevant to todays Chch.

A casino would be more in keeping with the morality of our culture today.


Tinakori   #46   12:28 pm Feb 19 2012


Johnny no one said the stonemasons were on that sort of money. Factored into the costings is not only the cost of stone, quarrying and cartage but also the architecture the supervision the resource consents the carpentry etc, surely you have caught on by now. One further matter worth considering, does this country have 60 stone masons? so return air travel from Europe for 50 stonemasons plus accommodation.


cliff   #45   08:52 am Feb 19 2012


Surely the church owns these buildings so therefore the Curch of Rome could pay the bill just as the church of England could foot the bill for the Christchurch Cathederal. Having said that, with the amount of churches damaged in the quake perhaps we are being sent a message. Perhaps we should be building Mosques !!


Johnny   #44   12:34 am Feb 19 2012


Wondering about the math.. $40million, 60 stonemasons, 3 years = $222,222 per stonemason per year. How do I sign up for this kind of pay?


Euan   #43   10:54 pm Feb 18 2012


Do something for future generations and build a new cathedral out west, where the new CBD should logically be. The ground is more stable out there and only short-term concerns are keeping us from moving west and laying a better foundation (no pun intended) for the city.


Jumbo   #42   08:03 pm Feb 18 2012


To rebuild the original would seem a bit sad, it will never be the same again. Don't get me wrong, I love that old building, but to rebuild a historic structure will never have the same integrity and certain things it had will never be replaceable. Just build a new church and leave the old one as it is, its not worth it.

I like the idea of the church being a ruin, that would look way cooler and probably earn more money and tourists to the church.


kiwicairns   #41   07:58 pm Feb 18 2012


Kiwiaus: You have hit the nail on the head, so so true. I am Catholic and am also disgusted in the wealth of the church. There would not be as much poverty around if they opened their wealthy purse and started supporting and feeding the hungry children of the world.


Gonadman   #40   07:57 pm Feb 18 2012


Craig #38 Multiculturalism my arse!!! How can multiculturalism thrive if this country can't even get biculturalism working.


Tombstone   #39   07:33 pm Feb 18 2012


What about a tilt slab box instead with a section jutting out from it at an odd angle or something to that effect - not! I drove through Sydenham today and noticed some quaint little wooden structures for temporary retail and I thought that looks really inviting - tilt slab says to me 'COMMERCIAL BUILDING!!!!!' and I bloody hate it. The houses in my street that are made of wood have stood up to quakes. The concrete and brick houses are stuffed. Why are we not exploiting this simple but timeless material and actually getting on with the rebuild in areas like Sydenham which would suit beautiful wooden stores? Time is ticking.


Craig   #38   04:46 pm Feb 18 2012


It needs to be knocked down and something built in its place that reflects what has happened in our city and the multi culturalism that thrives in Christchurch.Build something that will stand for all to see for the next 150 years. Restoration is not an option nor is a 40 million rebuild , heritage be damned the heritage now is in the rebuild of a better city for all to admire.


anglican   #37   03:38 pm Feb 18 2012


D.S. of Christchurch #35 Excellent idea. Let's see if the Bishop can walk the talk.


alex   #36   03:37 pm Feb 18 2012


It would be stupid to rebuild it as before ,lets learn from the earthquake lesson . Why not rebuild an amazing new modern futuristic cathedral that is safe for the next 500+ years . the site could also incorporate a smaller scale replica museum cathedral to remind us of what we have lost.


D.S. of Christchurch   #35   03:27 pm Feb 18 2012


As a multi cultural society, and appreciating that Christchurch had a Cathedral as a focal point for some 150 years in the central city, isn't time to relocate the National Marai (as a general meeting house),into the heart of the city, rather than having at placed so close to the poo ponds in Bromly?! Which I feel is a disgrace to Maori and our culture in general.



Stephanus   #34   03:07 pm Feb 18 2012


Surely the world's largest corrupt firm, based in the Vatican, could provide some modest funds towards the rebuild?


dee   #33   02:47 pm Feb 18 2012


As a Catholic I think just build a nice modest church. The past is the past.


Bill   #32   02:41 pm Feb 18 2012


As someone commented "Their God Destroyed it" is your opinion but in reality God had nothing to do with it. It all came down to how our planet is made which is constantly expanding and extracting daily. Anyone who enjoyed science in school will understand the basic principles/concepts of our environment.

We just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in the history of our Earth. That's all it is in basic simple terms. No one could ever forecast this.

As for the Cathedral's both Anglican and Catholic despite my own religious feelings say "Bull Doze the lot" Actually we should seriously look at bulldozing a majority of the City then get on with rebuilding it. I would like to see some real progress made in the next 5 to 20 years even though I will never live to see the finish product! We have a real opportunity to big a better and brighter plus not to mention safer Christchurch.

I do not understand the money side of the Cathedral cause will they not be paid out by insurance? Also I do not believe there are 60 Stonemasons permanently living in NZ.


kiwiaus   #31   02:17 pm Feb 18 2012


We all know how wealthy the Vatican is and the Pope should be authorising a contribution to the repairing/rebuilding of the Cathedral and other Catholic Churches damaged by the quakes. Oh hang on a minute..... That of course might make a big hole in the wealth and impact on the those at the Vatican by denying some of the lavish and overindulgent lifestyle. God forbid, they might not be able to have as much imported salmon! I am a Catholic but it disgusts me that the Church is so filthy rich and does not contribute to anything much outside of the Vatican including the many starving Catholic families and children around the world.


anglican   #30   01:48 pm Feb 18 2012


It was always a much better Cathedral than our Anglican one. Perhaps it could be moved into the sqare where it could be truly appreciated.


Frank   #29   01:27 pm Feb 18 2012


I would love to see it rebuilt. It was a beautiful building and it would be great to have it back again. I'm sure the Vatican has a fairly large bank account. Maybe they could help out?


cf   #28   01:04 pm Feb 18 2012


To - JC of Chch #24 - Hahaha... Thats quite funny considering almost all the old churches have fallen down and most things around them are still standing.

They didn't rebuild the Colosseum or Pompeii or many of the great Egyptian temples and statues, pyramids etc. Could it be treated as a ruin?? Made safe (principally by exclusion) but there to see. It would be quite a tourist attraction I would imagine. Build a new church where another building has come down ie The Press site or something similar but close by. Then you would have the best of both worlds. Gosh that's a good idea, don't you think?? The only problem would be if it shakes itself to pieces with the ongoing aftershocks but then that might be a bit of an attraction in itself.


Kronicman   #27   01:00 pm Feb 18 2012


Don't waste your time on it. Build something new that is fitting for the 21st century. The Catholics can afford it.


James   #26   12:59 pm Feb 18 2012


@Nix #21 The Anglican Cathedral blew the Catholic one away when it came to architecture and awesomeness.


Dave   #25   12:48 pm Feb 18 2012


The Catholic Church has plenty of money. The Vatican should just sell a couple of art works and the whole lot would be covered. I know that won't happen but like the Anglican Cathedral the Church should pay for their own rebuilds. New Zealand as a more enlightened society is an increasing secular society where religion is less important than it is for other countries. Sure the buildings are beautiful and have historic value but it's only a small percentage of the population that actually use them for what they were built for. Personally I think that there are more important areas to spent public money.


JC of Chch   #24   12:31 pm Feb 18 2012


If you care to regard the quakes as acts of god, then it becomes fairly obvious that he doesn't much like religious architecture as practised in Christchurch.

Perhaps the advocates for demolition are right, and something new should be tried.


Patrick   #23   12:12 pm Feb 18 2012


"We haven't got $100 million". The brutal truth is it would take decades to raise such a huge sum while all the time the building is a ruin that is crumbling away further with each aftershock. Competing for money with every other similar project. Its only bricks and mortar they could build a modern replica to current code for the $40 million so why waste so much energy trying to preserve the ruins. Its already run out of money wasting their efforts deconstructing.


J L Thompson   #22   11:49 am Feb 18 2012


Yes, indeed, it is the Catholic Cathedral,it tells you that in the first sentence.


Nix   #21   11:42 am Feb 18 2012


I was married in this beautiful cathedral - undoubtedly significantly more aesthetically pleasing than the Anglican one - and I don't believe we need to rebuild either of them. We have the ability to build structures that are efficient, warm, practical and safe. We live in the Shaky Isles. Buildings of this genre are best left to the Europeans, and if we were honest we would admit that nothing we have ever had rivals the incredible churches of Continental Europe. Lets rebuild the very best of New Zealand and the very best of the 21st Century and create our own splendid legacy for the future.


Chris Jaquiery   #20   11:34 am Feb 18 2012


Why dont they replace it with a few shipping containers all welded together. Be allot cheaper... Then they can give the rest of their insurance money to the poor and needy...Ahem


D   #19   11:26 am Feb 18 2012


This is why people are leaving this city! You save what you can but not to the point of sheer STUPIDITY! Have not enough people died because of saving bricks??

Peoples right to life gone, families grieving, children without parents and parents without children because of bricks, do-gooders and bureaucrats!

If it cost less to fix it than build it I would still want it gone. This is and always be a seismic risk city. That should surely speak for itself.


mark schumacher   #18   11:14 am Feb 18 2012


It is iconic. Much more than just a church. But sorry to say we've got to do what's necessary. Bulldoze it.


donna gaynor   #17   10:52 am Feb 18 2012


I think this article is about the CATHOLIC cathedral. Not THE CATHEDRAL which is Anglican. Not sure. Definately rebuild the Anglican cathedral, it is not just a church or just a building to some of us.


Ange   #16   10:46 am Feb 18 2012


For goodness sake bulldoze the cathedral it is in no physical state to be repaired, any one with common sense would know that.


Frances S   #15   10:42 am Feb 18 2012


I'm with Ange #13. It's a no-brainer. Bulldoze before any chance of further accidents. (I hate this, I grew up here, but we need to get real).


Murano   #14   10:37 am Feb 18 2012


The decision is not so difficult if you look at it as you would your own money. Do you have the $100 million? Do you have the $40 million? What do you have in your pocket? What could you get from your friends or family? How much would you and could you borrow? My view is if you cannot afford it, you cannot afford it. Do so drying else that is within your means. I would hope that Peter Beck in his new role does not see this as a necessity for ratepayers monies.


Ange   #13   10:37 am Feb 18 2012


For goodness sake bulldoze the cathedral it is in no physical state to be repaired, any one with common sense would know that.


Sumnerite   #12   10:36 am Feb 18 2012


I really hope the Church will find some way of restoring/rebuilding this beautiful building as close as possible to original. If it takes time and money, so be it, if there is any way to make it work, please try. We need to save whatever we can, and this was an amazingly beautiful building. We'll have more than enough tilt slab monstrosities in the city in years to come.


Rebuild, I'll volunteer labour   #11   10:29 am Feb 18 2012


This was a building that gave light and air, allowed for beautiful music to be played. I and I'm sure many others will labour for free to build this magnificent building again.


TheMantis   #10   10:26 am Feb 18 2012


I didn't know stonemasons were as well paid as this. $222K p.a for a stonemason, they must be the Tony Marryatt's of stonemasonry. Definitely repair the Cathedral though.


justice   #9   10:17 am Feb 18 2012


I suggest a cardboard cut out! ;-) Seriously, The Anglicans will just have to find their own money or build something far more conservative. Financial reality must be taken into account. It's just a building folks, not life or death


Nick   #8   10:07 am Feb 18 2012


Sad so many building inc this one likely to go. But, how many people used the Catholic Cathedral? Is it a value added use of money, space, location, size etc for maybe 1-2% of the population who might use it frequently. That whole site, inc bus depot may make a good site for new covered stadium, convention centre, indoor sports arena complex etc. Like a one stop shop for large events in south island. Close to city and good access.. Rebuild churches etc out in the burbs where people live, where they can walk from home to church. Does a church need to be as large as the one currently there..? churches were built large many years ago for a reason. That reason does not exist anymore. All people are worried about now is comfort, convenience, vice and money.


GilliAN PORTER   #7   09:52 am Feb 18 2012


It took 41 years to build the Cathedral originally, what is the hurry now? Let's keep some of Chch's history especially a world-renown building like the Cathedral.


Alan   #6   09:46 am Feb 18 2012


Why rebuild something that their God chose to destroy ? The money could be much much much better spent.


Tony   #5   08:54 am Feb 18 2012


Definately repairable. Go to it

Tony Ward


E.   #4    via mobile 08:30 am Feb 18 2012


Sad, but even building new with the nave as part of a modern structure could look amazing with the right architect onboard.


stevep   #3   07:39 am Feb 18 2012


Sometimes - tilt slab and glass, however aesthetic any 'award winning' architect may claim it to be .... simply isn't right. Case in point. Christchurch needs its culture and heritage. If it costs more, so be it. It matters!


Gina   #2   07:32 am Feb 18 2012


If you haven't got $100 million then there are only two options available so surely that makes the decision easier?


Luka   #1   07:18 am Feb 18 2012


On the flip side 3 years confirmed work for 60 stonemasons is great.

I would love to see this building rise again. Such an important building for me and my family, seeing it rise again would mean so much. Fingers crossed the Holy See dig deep to help us out with funding.

And while we are at in, can we have a proper walkway linking the two cathedrals as part of the cities rebuild


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