The November earthquakes were a timely reminder of the importance of the earthquake strengthening project.
While there is no discernable damage to the cathedral, Jenny Goddard, Cathedral Remediation and Design Manager, said she was pleased not to have been inside the building when the quake struck. “It was scary enough at home - definitely the biggest and longest shake I have felt in New Plymouth”.
Currently Holmes Consulting are working on the Preliminary Design Stage of the engineering works and at the beginning of November were on site along with Conservation Architect Dave Pearson. The visit was to gain more information about our building - how the roof is put together, and working out connection details with the stone walls in order to determine how they will perform seismically as well as be visually acceptable. This stage of the work is very much about taking the theoretical solutions proposed in the concept plan and applying them to the reality of the building.
There are a further two stages of engineering design to be undertaken before building contractors have a set of documents to price. The Cathedral Remediation Advisory Group was to receive this work at the end of November, but that will now stretch out to December while engineers are diverted to the damage in the south of the country.
While this work is proceeding Dean Peter and Jenny Goddard have been meeting with parishioners to discuss “The Way Ahead” – a document presented at the October Parish Forum.
The document was designed to stimulate discussion. It poses a vision of activities focussed on the cathedral site. To achieve this, the Vicarage building is removed from the site, freeing up land for community facilities such as the New Plymouth Food Bank, the Stop In op shop, better carparking and improved site access. It also expands our capacity as a cathedral of peace and reconcilation, a place where issues of social justice and social enterprise can be centered.
The Hatherly Hall is expanded and linked to the cathedral, allowing it to be our hospitality space. This would enable the land on the north side of Vivian Street to be developed, thus providing an ongoing ground lease. Along with our earthquake strengthened cathedral with its subtly remodelled interior, we are ready to be “Christ in our Community” for the next 170 years.
Dean Peter reports that so far reaction to the vision has been overwhelmingly positive. “Naturally it makes the remediation project an even bigger mountain to climb, but the reality is that we do need to take stock and really consider how to make our land and building resources work to their best advantage. The Way Ahead is very much about doing that.”
Telling others in the community about our plans is also really important. “The cathedral is just one player in an array of community and social service groups that aim to support the vulnerable and disadvantaged,” he says.
Jenny has been meeting with a range of groups such as Citizens Advice Bureau, PARS, Young Peoples Trust and Emergency Housing provider (CHAT).
“I have been talking about their services, gaps they perceive and how they see themselves operating in the future. We are well served – people do such great work – and the sector is changing as funding models change.
“Looking to the future, we have no desire to duplicate services already operating so this has been a good opportunity to exchange information and hear how others feel we can add value in the future.”
Jenny found that many were aware of the cathedral’s membership of the Community of the Cross of Nails and saw promotion of our role as a place of peace and reconciliation as a positive point of difference.
Getting the funding in place is what will ultimately determine time lines for completion of the project. To that end the Cathedral Advisory Group is scoping a fundraising campaign, with plans to begin the work in February. Right now, the group is looking for a name that spells out the project’s community focus – we welcome your suggestions. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org