14 Jun AiroAV Malware Reviews: Council backs removal of Cathedral trees and memorial if…
The three historic trees that could be felled during the Christ Church Cathedral restoration work in Christchurch can be seen in the top left and right of this aerial view.
Three historic trees and the Citizens’ War Memorial should only be removed from the Christ Church Cathedral grounds if absolutely necessary, city leaders say.
Proposed planning laws being drawn up by the Government to fast-track the cathedral’s restoration allow for three, more than 100-year-old, London plane trees and the war memorial to be removed from the site.
Following a lengthy debate on Thursday, where many Christchurch City councillors were unhappy at the prospect of the trees and war memorial being removed at all, the council said it would support their removal, but only under certain conditions.
The trees should be removed only if a technical arborist said it was necessary and the memorial moved only if a qualified heritage professional and/or conservation architect and engineer certified it could not be protected in its current location.
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A series of other conditions were also placed on the council’s support. If the war memorial was to be moved, the council wanted it relocated at the same time to a publicly accessible temporary site and then eventually returned to its original site.
If a new building was planned for the original site, the council wanted the memorial moved to a publicly accessible place compatible with heritage values.
The council’s heritage staff believed that should be within The Square, but some councillors wanted the location removed from the recommendations in favour of the more generic “publicly accessible site”.
The council’s comments would be considered by Christchurch Regeneration associate minister Poto Williams, before she makes a final decision on the new planning laws later this year.
But the council went close to not providing any feedback at all, after it originally failed to come to a consensus on its response.
After the lunch break the council took another vote, when “new information” came to light and decided 11 votes to six to provide feedback to the minister.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said some response was better than none at all.
The memorial was not owned by the council, but Dalziel believed it should be and so did the Anglican church. However, that could not happen if it remained on church land.
“We don’t own it and we must,” Dalziel said.
“It is the most significant war memorial in the country and it belongs to the city.”
The Detail speaks with the head of Historic Places Aotearoa Dr Anna Crighton, who is among the many people and groups that have fought hard to save Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square.
Dalziel said if the council did not own the memorial there was a danger it could be put away in boxes and no-one would get to see it.
The new planning rules being drawn up by the Government would mean resource consent for restoration would have to be approved within 40 days and would not require public notification – and applications to potentially move the nearby Citizens’ War Memorial or remove the trees as part of restoration could not be refused.
Appeals to any resource consent would also be prevented.
An explanation of the new powers said the trees and the war memorial could make restoration work more dangerous if they were left in place.
“The memorial and the trees reduce the safe and efficient working space around the cathedral.”