The Government is putting $8.5 million towards the restoration and strengthening of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the project meets all the criteria for funding under the $3 billion infrastructure fund announced in the Budget earlier this year.
The cathedral was closed in 2018 due to seismic risk.
“This project is ready to go right now,” Mr Robertson said, adding that it will create 300 construction jobs.
“The restoration is expected to take about three years and, once complete, will see this Category 1 Historic Place once again available for the Wellington community to use.
“The cathedral is not only widely used by the Catholic congregation, but also by the public as a performance space because of its globally-acclaimed acoustics. It is also a tourist attraction because of its architectural merits.”
The project is getting underway now, the minister’s statement noted. It has all the approvals it needs, up to and including stage 3 of the project. Stages 4 and 5 will be “shovel ready” by March, 2023, following immediately on from the completion of stages 1-3.
The statement noted that “all approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change”.
Cardinal John Dew told stuff that the funding would enable strengthening to be completed to a high standard, and would allow for base isolation as well.
“We thought we would never be able to do that, but we decided that we would apply to the “shovel ready” project.”
Cardinal Dew was scheduled to lead a blessing of the site and workers outside the cathedral chapel on August 7.
Some $3.3 million has been raised for the project so far before this funding. The overall fundraising goal is $16m, reportedly.
A cathedral newsletter stated that the funding allows design work for the base isolation to begin.
“The leadership team is delighted with this unexpected announcement, and we are now gathering the necessary team to progress this project,” the newsletter stated, adding that it was “great news”.