Least damage plan backed for Cathedral

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Least damage plan backed for Cathedral
THE PRESS, Christchurch
Tuesday, November 8, 2011 NEWS A3
■ EARTHQUAKE RECOVERY
Least damage
plan backed for
Cathedral
Charlie Gates
[email protected].co.nz
March: Protesters rally yesterday against the rapid demolition of historical buildings in central Christchurch.
Photos: IAIN McGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ
Protesters object to heritage loss
Charlie Gates
[email protected]
Protesters lamenting the loss
of Christchurch heritage
buildings have taken their
case to the earthquake recovery headquarters.
About 200 protesters gathered in central Christchurch
yesterday to object to the
demolition of heritage buildings after the Canterbury
earthquakes.
The protesters listened to
speeches by Christchurch
Central MP Brendon Burns,
Christchurch Civic Trust
chairman Neil Roberts and
Green Party list candidate
Eugenie Sage.
One man held a cardboard
banner that read: ‘‘Let’s save
what’s left’’.
Speakers criticised the
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s (Cera’s)
approach to heritage buildings and demolition process.
After the speeches, a small
group of the protesters took a
Signed: Protesters sign a petition to ‘‘save what’s left’’ of
the city’s heritage buildings.
Delivered: The petition arrives at Cera’s office,
accompanied by police.
petition to Cera headquarters
on
Worcester
St.
The
protesters gathered in the
reception area along with
three police officers who had
followed the group. After
presenting the petition to a
Cera staff member they left
the building peacefully.
Roberts said the heritage
demolition meant Christchurch was ‘‘gradually losing
its memory and identity’’.
‘‘Now, with the shadow of
demolition on the cathedral
we are not only losing our
memory, we have the potential for the loss of our
identity,’’ he said.
‘‘The cathedral is this city.
‘‘It is the foundation symbol of this city.’’
Cera said it would ‘‘work
collaboratively to get the best
outcomes for heritage buildings’’. Cera’s general manager
of demolitions, Warwick
Isaacs, said the owner’s
viewpoint in the decision over
a building was critical
because the owner had to pay
for any work on the building.
Land repairs may be years away, says EQC
David Williams
[email protected]
Some Christchurch homeowners will have to wait
‘‘years’’ for their quakedamaged land to be repaired,
the Earthquake Commission
(EQC) says.
EQC’s customer services
general manager, Bruce
Emson, said land remediation
was being managed as part of
the overall repairs to each
property.
He said the time frame for
land repairs – much of it
overseen by Fletcher Construction, which is managing
residential repairs between
$10,000 and $100,000 through
project management office
Fletcher EQR – was the same
as other repairs.
‘‘EQC and Fletcher EQR
hope to make an announcement on specific time frames
soon,’’ Emson said.
‘‘But the process is a very
large one [and] it could be a
matter of years before all
‘
They just don’t
appear to have a
plan for this
stage . . . the land
remediation.
Neva Clarke
displaced homeowner
work is completed,’’ he said.
Emson said if a building
claim was more than $100,000
but was suitable for managed
repair, EQC would refer the
claim to Fletcher EQR.
‘‘If not, the claim is cashsettled.’’
All land assessments
would be completed by
Christmas, he said.
Frustrated
property
owners Bob and Neva Clarke
contacted The Press after
getting the runaround by the
EQC call centre.
The Clarkes are living
with family in Redwood while
they wait for their written-off
house at Mt Pleasant to be
rebuilt.
EQC would not tell the
couple when the damaged
retaining wall below their
hillside house would be
repaired, or which company
would carry out the repairs.
‘‘They just don’t appear to
have a plan for this stage . . .
the land remediation,’’ Neva
Clarke said. ‘‘If they have got
a plan in place, then we, the
public – and there will be
others the same as us –
deserve to have an answer.’’
Bob, 81, and Neva, 68, who
have two daughters living
overseas, say they do not have
the luxury of waiting years
for their house to be rebuilt.
The couple have full
replacement insurance and
they accept that the house
that has been their home for
almost 40 years has to be
demolished.
They know the repair will
take time, but worry the
outstanding land repairs
could hold up the rebuild.
Christ Church Cathedral
leaders have examined everything from bringing the
building down to the windowsill level to a painstaking
reconstruction,
new
documents reveal.
Cathedral leaders will
today present their plans for
the quake-damaged building
to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority
(Cera) for approval.
On Friday, Cera issued
cathedral leaders with a
notice that gives them 10 days
to advise the authority on
their plans to make the
building safe.
Cera stressed that the
notice was part of a process to
work with cathedral leaders
to explore options for the
building.
The authority released 500
pages of files on the cathedral
on Friday in response to
ongoing debate about its
future. Engineering and heritage reports included in the
files reveal the options
cathedral
leaders
are
examining.
An October 20 report by
cathedral engineering firm
Holmes Consulting outlines
two make-safe options that
would meet Cera requirements for securing the site if
the building was ‘‘to be left in
an interim state for the
medium term ie 1-5 years’’.
One option retains as
much of the heritage fabric as
possible, with extensive steel
bracing. The other option
proposes bringing most of the
cathedral down to windowsill
level and retaining the curved
eastern end.
Dean Peter Beck said the
Photo: DEAN KOZANIC
/FAIRFAX NZ
The Christchurch City Council may be the only greater
Christchurch authority to
take up the Government’s
offer to defer long-term plans
a year because of the
earthquakes.
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide announced
last week Cabinet had
approved an Order-in-Council
allowing Environment Canterbury (ECan), the Selwyn
and Waimakariri district
councils and the city council
to delay adopting their next
long-term plan until 2013.
ECan has since said it is
unlikely to take advantage of
the breather and Waimakariri and Selwyn both say
they are on track to deliver
their plans before July 1 next
year.
However, the city council
said it would definitely need
the delay, which was why it
had requested the Cabinet
order.
Planning and performance
manager Peter Ryan said
there was ‘‘a bit of a
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make-safe option presented to
Cera today would involve
‘‘the minimum amount of
demolition required’’.
‘‘We have been asking our
project managers for the best
possible advice we can get for
the future of the building,’’ he
said.
‘‘We want the widest
possible advice from our
engineers so the people that
know about these things can
advise us so we can make the
best possible decision on
this.’’
An
internal
memo
included in the dossier from
Cera engineers, dated October
28, said there would be little
left
of
Christ
Church
Cathedral once dangerous
parts of the building are
removed.
DECONSECRATION CEREMONY
The quake-damaged Christ
Church Cathedral will be
deconsecrated tomorrow
morning.
The ceremony will return the
building from sacred to
secular use so work can start
to make it safe.
The service will be held in
the red zone, which means
the number that can attend
will be almost completely
restricted to the cathedral
community.
The service will be filmed by
CTV and broadcast on
Tuesday next week at 7pm.
Dean Peter Beck said, ‘‘We
know the cathedral will be
out of action for a
considerable time, probably
several years.’’
difference’’ between the
plights of the city council and
the other councils.
‘‘The infrastructure hit
that Christchurch has taken
is massive,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘The need for us to fit in
with Cera’s [Canterbury
Earthquake Recovery Authority] recovery plan is greater
than the other authorities.
‘‘It’s a nice piece of
flexibility for local government at a time when sticking
to the framework would have
presented us with some major
problems.’’
Without the change the
city council would have had
to have a draft long-term plan
ready by February, Ryan said.
‘‘We still have insurance
issues,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘We still
don’t know about all infrastructure damage and we still
don’t know the detail of Cera’s
recovery plan.
‘‘The long-term plan is a
pretty comprehensive document, with budgets, phasing
of projects.
‘‘We wouldn’t want to go
ahead with it. You’d be pretty
silly.’’
ECan deputy chairman
and commissioner David Caygill said the regional council’s
long-term work programme,
in particular water management and the Canterbury
Water Management Strategy,
meant it was keen to proceed
as usual.
‘‘Staff and commissioners
are well advanced in the longterm planning process and we
have no need at this point to
change the anticipated milestones and completion of the
long-term plan,’’ Caygill said.
‘‘We are getting on with
the work programme of the
Canterbury Water Management Strategy and this will
affect the council’s new longterm plan priorities. That
particular work is largely
unaffected by the earthquakes.’’
Selwyn District Mayor
Kelvin Coe said the deferral
would be an option to
consider
‘‘if
anything
untoward happens in the next
six months’’ but the council
was on track with its longterm plan.
Waimakariri
District
Mayor David Ayers said the
council would not delay.
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An online poll conducted by
The Press website has found
a slim majority want to save
Christ Church Cathedral.
The poll attracted more than
3000 votes, with 58.6 per
cent of respondents wanting
to save the cathedral as a
city icon, and 41.4 per cent
saying it should not be saved
as it would cost too much.
A second Holmes report in
the dossier proposes a
‘‘middle of the road’’ option
for the scale of propping,
deconstruction and reconstruction work required to
restore the cathedral.
The report, dated October
15, proposes propping up the
roof and upper parts of the
walls so they can be repaired,
deconstructing large parts of
the cathedral and rebuilding
them, and repairing lower
parts of the walls and the apse
as they stand.
A further report commissioned by the cathedral
from heritage consultants
Jackie Gillies & Associates
outlines four options for the
building. One is to demolish
the building and build a new
cathedral. Two options blend
old and new together. A
fourth would rebuild the preearthquake building.
Beck and Anglican bishop
Victoria Matthews do not
favour the complete demolition and rebuild of the
cathedral.
They have said they would
prefer a blend of old and
modern in any new cathedral.
The funding shortfall for
the four options range from
$30 million to $50m on top of
any insurance payout.
Christchurch could be
only body to defer plans
Paul Gorman
[email protected]
Tumbling down:
Neva and Bob
Clarke are
desperate for
answers from EQC
about their
retaining wall.
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