Regeneration minister seeking formal advice on Catholic cathedral


Christchurch regeneration minister Megan Woods is seeking formal advice on whether she could intervene to prevent the demolition of Christchurch’s Catholic cathedral.

A spokesman for Woods said last Wednesday that formal advice on whether she could intervene to prevent demolition under a section 38 notice could be with the minister in about two days.

The church was granted a section 38 notice in August 2015 in order to partially deconstruct the earthquake-damaged cathedral.

A section 38 notice allows a building owner to demolish without resource consent.

The notices were granted after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes so that damaged and dangerous buildings could be cleared more quickly.

The Catholic bishop of Christchurch, Paul Martin, said last week the 113-year-old Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament could be demolished under emergency powers granted to the church in 2015.

The church originally applied for the section 38 notice so they could accelerate plans to deconstruct most of the cathedral, but retain and restore the building’s main space if possible.

But Martin is now considering three options. One of the options is to demolish the cathedral and build afresh on a new site.

A spokesman for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) confirmed the section 38 notice for the cathedral was still valid, but was subject to some conditions like providing a detailed demolition plan.

In May, Martin cast doubt on the $105 million restoration budget.

“If we got it for $105m it would be a miracle,”  he said.

At that time he questioned the morality of fundraising $70m for the project when it could be spent on programmes like low-cost housing.

Woods attended high school at Catholic Cathedral College and has a PhD in history from the University of Canterbury.

She was a member of the Progressive Party from 1999 to 2007 and was involved in several of Jim Anderton’s re-election campaigns.


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