Church coy on releasing cathedral data

The Anglican Church has stopped short of heeding Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee's call to release all advice and documentation regarding its decision to demolish Christchurch Cathedral.

His appeal comes after the minister announced the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority will release all documents in regard to the cathedral from 9am today.

More than 1000 Cera-held pages of information on the church will be made available.

Cera said the process will take some hours to complete due to the volume of material.

Mr Brownlee said the church should follow suit, given the huge public interest in the issue of the cathedral's partial deconstruction.

Anglican Diocese of Christchurch spokeswoman Fiona Summerfield said the church would review the Cera documents and if it believed there were other "relevant, appropriate documents", it would consider releasing them.

"Throughout the process we have built relationships on trust and thus we would need to honour that in respect to documents provided," Ms Summerfield said.

She said the Cera documents would show the public the church was involved in stabilising and making the cathedral safe before December 23 but the two large aftershocks that day meant those plans no longer met Cera safety requirements and a new decision had to be made.

"Throughout the work on the Christchurch Cathedral we are continuing to carry out assessments and this is providing more detailed information on the state of the building," Ms Summerfield said.

"We have already had to change the approach to taking down the tower because it was more dangerous than initially realised."

Mr Brownlee said there was a range of views on the decision the church had made about the future of its cathedral.

"I believe that if the public is able to see the advice the church has been working from there is likely to be more understanding about the extent of the damage to the cathedral, and the rationale behind the decision to partially deconstruct it.

"At this stage a demolition permit has been issued to deal with the dangerously unstable tower and further permits will be issued to partially deconstruct the building as carefully as possible, to no lower than two metres," Mr Brownlee said.

Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group spokesman Mark Belton welcomed Cera's decision.

"That's the beginning of a more open process that should have been going on all the time," Mr Belton said.

He also welcomed Mr Brownlee's call for the church to also make its information public.

"With that information there would certainly be better understanding, but I can tell you now the church's own engineering consultants Holmes [Consulting Group] provided three options, and the option the church has opted to follow is the one with the least conservation and the most demolition."

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