Nave of Christchurch Catholic Cathedral may be retained

The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Barry Jones, has announced a $45 million plan to partially restore the Christchurch Catholic cathedral.

The rebuilt Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament would include a part of the original building, but would not entirely replicate it.

Some areas, including the sanctuary, cannot be saved.

And because of budget constraints and the demolition of the buildings in the rear section, the plan does not allow for the dome to be returned.

However, after four years of testing and modelling, it is believed the nave can be retained.

The plan is not a guarantee. An application will be made to the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to deconstruct the badly damaged areas surrounding the main body.

Cathedral Management Board chairman Lance Ryan said by doing so, church engineers will be able to undertake an in-depth study of the state of the nave.

“Those studies could then reveal if the nave is too badly damaged to be saved, or the ground conditions too unsuitable, and in that case we would have no option but to move to a full demolition of the Cathedral,” he said.

The church hopes to raise around $15 million to help with the work which should be completed 2019-20.

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