A final decision about saving the nave of the earthquake damaged Cathedral of the Blessed
Sacrament in Christchurch and progressively building back other parts of the cathedral is to be left to the new Bishop of Christchurch.
A notice on the Christchurch diocese website on October 21 stated that investigations have shown that “the entire cathedral can be saved”, but at a cost of about $100 million.
The late Bishop Barry Jones had set aside a maximum sum of $45 million for saving the nave. Of this sum, $30 million would be from Christchurch diocese and $15 million from fundraising.
The cost of repair and rebuild work in parishes was noted as a further factor impacting on any
decision about the cathedral.
Preliminary geotechnical and engineering reports earlier this year were positive about the land and foundations on which the cathedral sits.
The website notice stated that “in order to make a recommendation to the new bishop, all aspects in relation to the project, as well as the potential for fundraising must
be taken into account.
“It is envisaged that major fundraising for a restored cathedral would have a national and international focus and be supported by heritage and other funding”.
In conclusion, the notice stated: “We will continue to explore this scenario to provide the bishop with a recommendation, including the need for fundraising $70 million for the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and $15 million for work in the parishes.
“The late Bishop Barry had already engaged Fundraisers (AskRIGHT) who are optimistic of
our ability to do this”.
Diocese administrator Fr Rick Loughnan said: “We are really excited about that possibility [of
saving the whole building].”
“There are a whole lot of questions that have got to be asked to the new bishop when he comes and it is a decision he makes,” he added.
Fr Loughnan also referred to restoring the cathedral “ . . . in some way that creates that beauty” which was a hallmark of the building.