“Pray there isn’t an earthquake to set them back further” Former bishop not surprised by dire funding shortfall

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 10, 2024 |

Christchurch’s former Anglican Bishop, who advocated for dismantling the cathedral in favour of a contemporary structure, said the project’s financial shortfall comes as no surprise.

The Cathedral has as funding gap of $114 million, and if it can’t get $30 million by August, the project will be mothballed.

Victoria Matthews always argued that it was fundamentally unjust to funnel funds into restoring the cathedral while people in the city faced dire hardship.

In 2017 she said “I don’t think people’s pain is addressed by reinstating a building, so I think the money is better spent helping people. And right from the beginning we have said ‘people before buildings.”

In the same year, the National Government initiated a report which estimated restoration costs of $105 million.

This projection, however, proved to be significantly inaccurate.

The cathedral’s owners, the Anglican Church, had previously put the cost of restoring it as high as $221 million and said there was no hope of ever raising that much money.

It’s turned out the Anglican Church was right, with new figures suggesting the full rebuild cost could skyrocket to $248 million.

Victoria Matthews is currently the episcopal administrator of the Anglican Diocese of Moosonee and bishop in residence for St. Matthew’s Anglican Cathedral in Timmins, Canada.

She told Chris Lynch Media “there is always a high risk factor with the restoration of historic buildings and we live a world of rapid change and high inflation. 

“This latest challenge isn’t really a surprise” Matthews said.

“I suggest those who have declared this rebuild is their top priority remember that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth the effort to finish it.  

“Also suggest they pray there isn’t an earthquake to set them back further. 

“In northern Ontario in Canada, which is where I live and minister the priorities are addressing homelessness and food insecurity.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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