ChristChurch Cathedral negotiations reach stalemate

Cantabrians may have to wait another six months for a final decision on ChristChurch Cathedral, as trustees from the Anglican church say they are yet to receive a binding offer from the Government.

It's almost six years since an earthquake rocked Canterbury and badly damaged the city's Cathedral, but a decision on what to do with the building is still up in the air.

Bishop Victoria Matthews says church trustees reached an agreement with Crown negotiators before Christmas, but that wasn't accepted by  Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

"We've tried every which way from Sunday to either have it deconstructed to sill level, or to get help to reinstate it," says Bishop Matthews.

A follow-up document was received with significantly different terms, and trustees insist there is no deal on the table.

A restorational reinstatement is still the aim, but trustees won't commit to a $100 million project without certainty of funding.

"The CPT [Church Property Trustee] as prudent trustees cannot commit to a project we do not have the money to complete," says Bishop Matthews.

Transitional Cathedral churchgoers are also frustrated, but want the Anglican church to be left to make its own decision.

"We're as anxious as the city is as to what's going to happen," says retired Anglican minister Ted Good. 

"And it's just a pity that several people who don't belong to the church have stood in the way of what the church wants to do. Otherwise it would have been done by now."

Church trustees hope to meet with Mr Brownlee this week, but admit a final decision could still be months away.