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17th of January 2018

Politics



Christ Church Cathedral restoration bill passes in Parliament

The Christ Church Cathedral has been sitting derelict in central Christchurch for nearly seven years.

The Christ Church Cathedral has been sitting derelict in central Christchurch for nearly seven years.

A bill designed to fast-track restoration of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral has passed into law.

The Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament on Wednesday evening, will accelerate resource management and consent processes relating to the cathedral rebuild.

Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods has been granted powers to override heritage and planning laws under the bill. The bill was amended after the Christchurch City Council said it should be consulted on any proposed cathedral works orders.

A MP select committee proposed that council should be informed and consulted on any proposed orders.

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"We note that fostering good relationships and open communications with local authorities and other interested groups will be important for ensuring the project's success," the committee wrote.

Woods said that now the legislation had passed a trust would be established to oversee the project, working with Church Property Trustees (CPT), the Crown and leading fundraising.

The board of nine trustees would be chaired by central city landowner and property investor Peter Guthrey.

Woods said a "reinstatement delivery vehicle" would also be established with directors appointed by the trust and CPT.

"This is a project management company and will receive the funding to do the build. This will be formed once both the legislation and trust have been formed," she said.

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Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Philip Burdon said restoration fundraising would begin as soon as the fundraising trust was in place.

The GCBT pledged $13.7 million in donations for the restoration. Council this week approved a $10m grant for the restoration, while the Government has promised a $10m cash contribution and a $15m loan that would not have to be paid back if certain conditions were met.

The pledges, along with the church's insurance proceeds of nearly $42m, amount to just over $90m of the estimated $104m restoration cost.

Burdon said he had not yet approached people who had previously promised money for the restoration.

"Until you can inform donors of the structure that they are contributing to, it would be premature … We have firm commitments," he said.

Burdon said the legislation meant restoration was now a government project.

"It is not a church project. It is a government project established by the appropriate legislation. It is no longer a process in which I am involved or am entitled to be involved."

Burdon said he hoped it would take about four to five years to restore the cathedral.

"I gather that is a realistic timeline."

 - Stuff

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