Preview: Decision time for the ChristChurch Cathedral

Anglican Church leaders are in the final stages of discussion over what will happen to the remains of the ChristChurch Cathedral.

A vote will take place on Saturday on whether to demolish and rebuild, reinstate or gift the Cathedral to the people of New Zealand after more than six years of delays.

Anglican, Church
Members of the Anglican Church have been meeting in Christchurch. Photo credit: Thomas Mead/ Newshub

Options for the Anglican Synod:

Option A - Reinstate the Cathedral at an estimated cost of $104 million

So far at least $90.7 million is on the table for a reinstatement.

- Government contribution: $10 million grant and a $15 million loan that won't need to be repaid if the loan conditions are met

- Great Christchurch Buildings Trust: $13.7 million

- Christchurch City Council: $10 million

- Anglican Church insurance pay-out: $42 million

The Government has offered another sweetener for the Church, if they vote on Option A it would then pass legislation that would allow them to fast-track the reinstatement.

Option B - Demolish and rebuild

This option leaves the Anglican Church on its own with their $42 million of insurance money and no other money behind it.

The main complication includes the Cathedral being a category one heritage building meaning the Church would need to get resource consent to take it down.

Church Property Trustees member Steve Wakefield, who is an advocate for reinstatement, suggested going to court could cost the Church at least $20 million in legal fees, leaving around $20 million left for demolition and re-building.

Option C - Gifting the Church to the people of New Zealand

The church is considering a third option for the Cathedral that would mean the Government would have full control over its future.

Bishop Victoria Matthews said in August the third option comes after the church heard "the passion of the people" over the building's future.

"If the damage is worse than anticipated, or there is a fundraising shortfall, we would be in serious trouble even with the generous Government offer," she said.

"By gifting the Cathedral building to the Government, it would be reinstated to its former glory and managed by them on behalf of all New Zealanders for use as a public space."

Proposed fourth option swiftly shut down

A potential fourth option was also put up in the Syond meeting for the future of the ChristChurch Cathedral on Friday but was swiftly taken off the table.

The motion was raised by the Vicar of Rangiora, Reverend Andrew Allan-Johns who suggested a "grand compromise" that would see the front of the quake-damaged Cathedral restored and create a contemporary back that would give the church the modern facility it wants.

Church, Synod
A fourth proposal was raised but quickly shut down by the Synod. Photo credit: Supplied

The proposal was put to the Synod who chose to eject it and not consider it.

Support from Mayor and Minister clear - reinstate the Cathedral

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has used one word to describe what it would mean for the Synod to vote on reinstatement of the Cathedral - "certainty."

She says it is the only decision that would bring certainty for the city and the country instead of many more years of debate and argument over what should happen.

"I really emphasised to the Synod that even if we were in court [it won't be a short process] because once the resource management act [protecting the category one heritage building] kicks into play then it's a process that's going to go on," she says.

"The decision is handed from the church to a judge and that is what Christchurch [can] take any more of - uncertainty."

Christchurch, Cathedral
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Minister Nicky Wagner talking to media outside the Synod meeting. Photo credit: Newshub

That view has been echoed by Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Nicky Wagner who says not taking Option A could delay the process by another decade.

"We've always felt that a decision should happen now as quickly as possible and that Option B is not really a decision because it would mean there would be debate and quite divisive debate for many years in the future [estimating another] six to 10 years," she says.

Cathedral, Prince William
Prince William visited the ChristChurch Cathedral in 2011 shortly after the deadly February earthquakes. Photo credit: Getty

The ChristChurch Cathedral was devastated by the February 22 earthquakes in 2011 and has been in its derelict state since, waiting for a decision from the Anglican Church.

The Synod will meet for the third day in-a-row on Saturday where a decision on the future of the iconic New Zealand building is expected to be announced following a vote.

Newshub.

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