"Bishop Matthews, however, said the church had been a "very, very perilous building".+Victoria is absolutely right. So why not a headline such as "Bishop saves lives with courageous wisdom" or "Life more important than art, says bishop"?
"It was a beautiful building, but my priority has to be humans and the safety of the community. It wasn't a time to take chances." "
The Press is working a bit of theme today as the front page lead article is headed, "Historic Places Trust is 'gutless' in the face of Cera [Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority]"
Again, because some people feel buildings should be saved and because an overseas expert flew in and out of the city saying they could be saved, a local politician joins in with a refrain about gutlessness. The issues have nothing to do with courage and a lot to do with safety and with money. Of course any damaged building can be repaired (especially if internal walls are made of steel girders, and then stones are rebuilt with steel rods) but who is going to pay for it, and who is going to risk life and limb in deconstruction stone by stone? It is not courage to stand beneath a stone wall in a shaky city, it's foolishness.
Driving around Christchurch, seeing these damaged heritage buildings, one can see the complex nature of old stone construction. There is nothing simple and therefore nothing inexpensive about deconstruction, and any reconstruction is not going to be via the old techniques such as internal and external walls made of stone and filled with rubble. At best we will have rebuilt buildings that look like the old ones but in reality are modern buildings filled with steel.
Taxes and rates are going to be high enough contributing to the transitioning of people from red zoned land and rebuilding infrastructure and facilities, to say nothing of paying new high insurance premiums on government and council buildings, without paying for restoring hundreds of heritage buildings. It is reasonable to save a select few buildings with public money such as our Arts Centre and the Provincial Chambers, partly as a snapshot of our past and partly as tourist attractions, but beyond that I see no reason to save old hotels and shops on the taxpayers compulsory donations.
As for the likes of Holy Trinity Avonside, if we are fortunate as a diocese we may be able to save one or two of our lovely stone churches, but they will be the least damaged ones not the most damaged. The gospel does not demand the preservation of old buildings no matter how beautiful and historic they are. Our funds (such as we have) are best invested in the future of the kingdom, not in the past.
So, not the slightest bit of sympathy from me re our heritage as bemoaned in these articles. I am with +Victoria 100%.