Tuesday, March 27, 2012

UNESCO: "Save It!" - But Offers No $$$

Another overseas cry to save Christchurch Cathedral.
The UNESCO World Heritage Centre says while the cathedral isn't a world heritage site, its symbolic value needs to be considered. Its spokesman Gina Doubleday says while it may seem expensive at first, saving it would help maintain the city's character, bring business opportunities and lift long-term property values. She says a restored cathedral would testify to history and continuity of cultural life, that a brand new building wouldn't be able to convey.
Work began yesterday to remove its stained glass windows and other heritage items. The Anglican Church decided the building is beyond saving, and all but the bottom 2-3m of the 130yr.old building will be pulled down. It says removal of the windows and heritage items will take about six weeks. Deconstruction work should be finished by the end of this year.
A decision on what form a new cathedral may take is still some time away, and whether it's built on the existing site will depend on the results of ground stability tests. A new cathedral incorporating some of the old is an option but there'd be a $50m shortfall.
The NZ Historic Places Trust feels saving this and other heritage central city landmarks would help Christchurch's recovery by returning cultural tourism to the city heart: it's bitterly disappointed in the demolition decision.
Over the past month, at least 60,000 people walked through the CBD cordon on special open weekends, for a last look.
Also mauled in Feb.2011's EQ, The Catholic Basilica. Estimates for retaining and rebuilding this even more visually impressive cathedral (on Barbadoes St.) are around $100m.
Perhaps if UNESCO provides $100m for each of these fine buildings, they could both actually be saved...

No comments: