I braved the very cold day to go to the protest in Cranmer Square regarding the demolition of the Cathedral. Along with 5000 others. It was very tame by my standards, I like my protests to be considerably more vocal and thus much more effective. I was not allowed, by my colleagues, to breach the Red Zone fence. Drat, it is time that was done again. I was surprised by the wide variations in age. We have been led to believe that it is only us oldies that care, this is not so.
One of the main issues here is that Christchurch people should not have to protest about this issue, it is so patently the wrong decision. We are tired of fighting, we are fighting EQC, Insurance companies, CERA, those of us on the East side are living in appalling conditions. Many of us have lost our jobs and Christchurch does not need to lose its identity as well.
This decision should have been made at a higher level – at Government level – by some one with foresight. ( Not Gerry Brownlee)
As I have said before this is one of a series of silly decisions made by CERA/Government and in this case in conjunction with the Anglican Church. In talking to my friends at the rally we have come to some conclusions. By no means is this a comprehensive list, just a short summary.
1. The Church wants this building down because it has a very small congregation and it is not economic to run. (This was the case prior to the earthquakes)
2. CERA/Government has made no attempt to dissuade the Anglican Church, which they could easily do.
3. The Church should gift the Cathedral to the City and let the international donors, who have offered, I might add, to repair this building. Then it should be used as an interdenominational Church and events centre. There are 100 Engineers who say it can be repaired.
4. CERA and Gerry Brownlee set the scene 14 months ago, for demolition, by referring to heritage buildings as ” Old dungers” as I have repeatedly said, this was mischievous.
5. New Zealander’s also have not yet developed a concept of Heritage. ( as the child of immigrants we were reared with stories of old building, events and we imbibed a sense of history) This concept has yet to develop here. (I also confess to be a History Major)
6. I would estimate that the Church is only 40% damaged. It can be repaired and strengthened to 100% of the building code. The skilled personnel are available to do this. The Church obviously have not asked the Engineers the right questions, or even understood the issues.
7. The issue of safety is a nonsense. It is fenced off and remains trapped in the red Zone. It does not need to be repaired tomorrow, it is a project that could take 60 years.
8. If the Church goes, you rip the heart out of the Cathedral square. You may as well rename Christchurch. The repair of the Cathedral would be a sorely needed morale booster for many in Christchurch.
Another incompetent decision by those in charge.