The bishop has just returned from a tour of 10 cathedrals overseas
By Hamish Clark
Christchurch's Anglican bishop is demanding the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) get on with it and demolish the cathedral in the square.
It is a move that is bound to further annoy those campaigning to save the building.
For weeks now work on the damaged cathedral has been at a stand still. That might please the hundreds of people campaigning to save it, but Bishop Victoria Matthews says it needs to be brought down and made safe, so the treasures inside can be retrieved.
It is on pause for the moment and that is a huge concern to us. We have asked permission to proceed with our methodology and as long as it is on pause we are aware that the treasures in that cathedral are being exposed to the elements,” she says.
“Until we get permission to proceed with the methodology more damage will be done to what is inside the cathedral so we would really like to get on with it.”
The bishop has just returned from a fact-finding tour of 10 cathedrals in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
She was searching for ideas for a new replacement, and says she has ruled out restoring the old one.
“I think at this stage to spend between $100 -120 million to rebuild what was there is an inappropriate use of money,” she says.
Five million is already being spent on the transitional cardboard cathedral. With a bigger deeper concrete pad now required, that too could be delayed from opening until after Christmas.
But the bishop says it is the cathedral in the square that causing the most concern.
“I would like to get on with it and to be honest, almost crass, the longer we wait the more expensive it will be,” she says.
We asked CERA why there has been a delay but we did not receive any answers to our questions. Instead they sent us a stock standard reply that basically says it is still all up in the air.