The cathedral that once defined the city was hit hard by the 2011 earthquakes. This year the Judge ruled that the church must formally commit to rebuilding a cathedral in the square, though it need not be a replication.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) classified it as dangerous and marked it for demolition, and the Church Property Trustees (CPT) agreed, saying it was the only safe option.
But the people have been fighting back, arguing that the cathedral is a city icon, with cultural value is akin to the Auckland Skytower.
With private engineers and public organisations such as the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) and Restore Christchurch Cathedral (RCC) doing their best to fight the demolition, and the church standing firm, the matter has been in and out of court multiple times.
The church has argued that restoration could take up to 22 years to complete and cost up to $225 million. GCBT offered to fund all costs for the work (which it estimated at $7.9 million) and said completion was possible within seven years. The revised costing for full restoration is $67 million, most of which RCC says will be paid out by insurance. A further $20 million would have to be fundraised.
Up until now, GCBT has failed to combat the Judge’s decision to give the church full power over the cathedral’s affairs. RCC and GCBT continue to call for public support to lobby for a restoration.