Catholic cathedral restoration waiting on CERA approval

Plans to retain and restore parts of the Catholic cathedral could be jeopardised by approval delays, Christchurch diocese leaders claim.

In June, the diocese applied to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) for a section 38 notice.

They had expected a decision in weeks but are still waiting approval.

A section 38 notice would give the diocese approval to demolish parts of the protected category one heritage building.

In May, the diocese announced plans to deconstruct most of the earthquake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament but retain and restore the building’s main space if possible.

The demolished parts of the cathedral could then be rebuilt around the retained central space.

If the section 38 notice is not approved, the diocese would have to get demolition consent through the normal planning process, which could take years.

A CERA spokesman said the section 38 application was complex.

“CERA needs to gather and thoroughly consider all of the relevant information, including complex engineering reports and input from the relevant parties such as Heritage New Zealand, before reaching a decision,” he said.

The spokesperson said there was no timeframe for a decision on the application.



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