ChristChurch Cathedral fight goes to court
Fri, 10 Aug 2012 2:44p.m.
The scrap over the future of ChristChurch cathedral is heading to the High Court.
The Great Christchurch Building Trust, which is seeking to have the earthquake-damaged cathedral restored, says it will seek to have the court declare the Anglican Church cannot take the cathedral down because it would breach the Church Property Trust Act.
"Nowhere in the Act does it give them the authority to destroy or deconstruct the buildings," Trust co-chairman Jim Anderton told NZ Newswire.
Mr Anderton said the court move was a last resort after the church had dismissed an engineering report that said the cathedral could be restored.
They would seek a declaratory judgment on whether the church could take the cathedral down or not.
If the trust was proved right they hoped to sit down and discuss with the church what could be done to rebuild the cathedral.
The trust will file the papers with the court on Tuesday.
Church spokesman Gavin Holley said it was "extraordinarily disappointed" at the prospect of legal action.
The church had thought long and hard about the fate of the cathedral, before deciding in the interests of safety to deconsecrate it and partially take it down, he said.
The trust had come into the debate late in the piece, and while the church had stopped work on the cathedral to listen to them and taken their views on board, it wasn't convinced rebuilding would be safe, he said.
The church did not think a $100-million restoration was "faithful stewardship" for the financially struggling groups that used the cathedral.
Professional assessors had said a restoration, leaving a replica cathedral, was of debatable cultural heritage value, Mr Holley said.
Rather than a restoration, the church wanted a future cathedral that "supports mission and ministry, serves the community, is inspirational and speaks to the past but looks to the future", he said.
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10/08/2012 5:24:47 p.m.
If the pope gives the go ahead: that is not an indication full restoration will take place. What is left of cathedral will with a bit of work still preserve those dead mans bones who lie beneath/or beneath the alter.
10/08/2012 4:32:23 p.m.
"The church had thought long and hard..." No it didn't, it was quite obvious that the bishop never had any intention to repair the cathedral after February. She made no serious effort to assess the potential for repairs until her hand was forced by cathedral supporters. The whole saga has been a charade from the start with the bishop hoping to keep everyone in the dark until the last moment before demolition was approved (probably hoping an aftershock would flatten the rest of it). She didn't apparently expect this level of resistance. The excuse of 'safety' is a truly pathetic one. I hope the courts find in favour, ratepayers have spent so much in the past on the cathedral that the church ought not to have sole authority over it. And it would teach the arrogant bishop a lesson.
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