28 Sep 2017

Christchurch cenotaph could be off limits for a decade

3:29 pm on 28 September 2017

The Christchurch Memorial RSA has told the city council that the cenotaph will likely be inaccessible for the next decade, if it is left in Cathedral Square.

Christchurch's Cathedral Square is again busy with people enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon, but five years on the cathedral still waits in disrepair.

Cathedral Square and the cathedral. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

The RSA has been pushing to move the cenotaph from the grounds of the earthquake-ravaged Christ Church Cathedral, where it remains fenced off, to nearby Cranmer Square.

Christchurch Memorial RSA member and Vietnam War veteran Paul O'Connor told the council construction work around the cathedral would keep the cenotaph off limits for the next decade.

Earlier this month, the Anglican Church decided to save the cathedral.

The cenotaph had been the site of commemorations for 73 years before the quake.

The cenotaph had been the site of commemorations for 73 years before the quake. Photo: PHOTO NZ

"The rebuild of the cathedral will be a construction site for the next five to ten years.

"This will render the cenotaph unusable for Anzac services and other commemorative events during this time."

Mr O'Connor told the council the cenotaph had spiritual significance for many residents, and it needed a proper home.

Currently, a wooden, temporary cenotaph has been built in Cranmer Square each year for Anzac services.

Regenerate Christchurch, which was responsible for developing parts of the city, released a plan for Cathedral Square in August, which included extensive landscaping and water features.

Mr O'Connor told the council if the cenotaph was kept in Cathedral Square, it would be overshadowed by new developments.

The $92 million Central City Library, near the cenotaph, was also expected to be completed next year, and work has started on a new convention centre nearby.

Several new hotels are also expected to be built.

The council said it would continue discussions with the RSA about temporary and permanent options, but made no decision on its future today.

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