For all questions and queries related to Building for the Future, please email BFTF@christchurchcathedral.bc.ca
We hope you will join us in this renewed mission both in your prayers and monetary support. Thank you!
UPDATE - March 12, 2023
If you did not have a chance to be at the update meeting on Sunday, March 12, you can watch the two parts of the meeting at the links below. Part 1 is the presentation and Part 2 is the followup after the breakout sessions.
UPDATE - February 2023
As promised, it's time for the latest update. Since my last missive, the process of assessing the site conditions both above and below the ground has been going on and is almost complete. In addition we have started to discuss with the city planning etc, the possibilities, expectations and limitations the site or the city have for the whole precinct project. Plus meetings with the other developers of the site within blocks of us have been continuing. The School has been given a little more time to discern their requirements and ability to carry them out, within the project and we hope to hear from them at the end of March what these may be. All in all, the project is moving along enough that the Bishop is of the opinion that it is time for her to bring the cathedral parish up to date.I hope you are able to join her at an Update Meeting following the joint service at 10.30 on Sunday March 12th. Due to the update meeting, I will not be posting again until at least April. See you at the meeting on the 12th!! - The Reverend Canon Ian Powell, Chair of the Steering Committee
As we come towards the end of 2022, work continues on the project. Most of this work focuses on building increased knowledge around priority areas of the site. This includes:
And of course, as I noted last month, the School continues to explore the feasibility of its vision to double the cohort of students through increased and new physical space. This work began over three years ago and resulted in the addition of the learning modules that opened this past fall.
I've been asked a few times if we'll see real action next year. By that people are often thinking of shovels in the ground or disruptive activity inside the cathedral itself. My answer is as unclear "may be, may be not!" as there is so much work behind the scenes that has to go on before things get visual. That can be disheartening for those who are not familiar with the development process. However, if you asked me to predict, I'd say no - but remember, that's ok!
As with much at this time of year, things will begin to slow down, so with that and my post Christmastide travel, I'll not be posting again until February. - The Rev'd Canon Ian Powell, Chair of the Steering Committee
A Special General Meeting of the Vestry (parishioners) of Christ Church Cathedral was held on Sunday, May 15, at 12.15 p.m. to consider approval of a proposal for proceeding with Phase 2 of “Building for the Future.”
“Building for the Future” is a long-term plan for the Cathedral “precinct” – the block bounded by Quadra and Vancouver Streets, Burdett and Rockland Avenues. It is based on the shared values and aspirations we articulated during “Greater Works Than These.” It will give physical expression to those aspirations, to the middle of the 21st Century and beyond, by laying out an inspiring vision for the improvement of our buildings and grounds – including both renovation and new construction – along with a realistic plan for how to fund that work. The ultimate goal is to create an Anglican centre for spirituality, learning, culture, heritage and community on these Islands and Inlets. Phase 1 of the project, which was completed recently, helped us learn what needs to be addressed and included in the plan. Phase 2 is the creation of the plan itself - a large and complex undertaking, with many elements, which will take the better part of two years. When it is complete, we will have made a major investment in our collective future, in the form of a comprehensive scheme for redevelopment, which can be implemented in stages, over many years and even decades, as needs and opportunities arise.
Phase 2 has been divided into two parts: 2(a) and 2(b). The cost of Phase 2(a) is capped at a maximum of $500,000. Phase 2(b) is estimated to cost a further $250,000 – possibly more, depending on what we learn in the first part of the exercise, and how we decide to proceed from there. In principle, we believe that all three of the main “stakeholders” on the precinct – the Cathedral, the School, and the Diocese – should fund this planning work equally, since we will all benefit from it. The Cathedral Management Team has identified a source of funds for our $250,000 contribution: a portion of the unused revenue from the sale some years ago of a property we owned on Niagara Street. (Note that the Niagara Street funds are internally restricted and can only be used for capital projects. This proposal will have minimal impact on the Cathedral’s operating budget). The Cathedral School Board has unanimously committed to providing its $250,000.
What was decided at the SGM?
The following two motions went before the Vestry at the SGM (May 15, 2022). Both motions were approved and now the Diocese will be asked to confirm a similar commitment:
1. That the Cathedral proceed with Phase 2 of the Building for the Future precinct planning process, as described in the proposal document, subject to ratification by Diocesan Council. Funding for Phase 2 to be provided jointly by the Cathedral, the Diocese and the Cathedral School.
2. That the Cathedral contribute a maximum of $250,000 to Phase 2 of Building for the Future, the source of funds to be a portion of the residue from the sale of the Niagara Street property, currently held in an internally restricted Cathedral investment fund; and subject to confirmation of the commitment of both the School and the Diocese to provide $250,000 each.
How can I find out more about Phase Two?
The full Phase 2 Recommendations document is available on this page, as is a much shorter Executive Summary. Elsewhere on this web page, you can find the final report on Phase 1, a recording of a Zoom presentation and meeting about it, and a Cathedral Check-In about Phase 2.
The following two documents describe the next steps of the “master plan” for the cathedral precinct. As was decided at our May 15, 2022 SGM, we are now moving forward with these plans.
Please read the Phase Two report and summary available to download below:
WATCH THIS: The following Cathedral Check-in provides a detailed discussion about the Phase Two Recommendations.
Over the past three years, we have had countless discussions about the role and future of our cathedral, our cathedral school, and our diocesan office, and about the kind of space we will need to accommodate our ministries. The fruits of these discussions have been shared with our planning consultants Kaeley Wiseman and Barb Myers from Wiser Projects. They, in turn, have done extensive research about current municipal plans and policies, as well as the appetite of local agencies and developers to work with us. They also engaged an architect, Paul Rigby, who has worked closely with us to assess the space on the precinct, with a view to the feasibility of making our cathedral, our school, and the rest of the precinct better serve our hopes and dreams.
Wiser Projects submitted a detailed “Phase One” report – which describes their findings, and the work we would need to do next to produce an actual “master plan” for the cathedral precinct. The report is available to download here in the form of an executive summary, a full report, and appendices:
The 90-minute Zoom presentation on Phase 1 of Building for the Future was well attended and provided an opportunity to meet our planning consultants Kaeley Wiseman and Barb Myers, as well as consulting architect, Paul Rigby. We were given a window into the work done to date, and were able to visualise some exciting ideas that could help us to re-equip, modernize and maximize the space we already have, in addition to considering what new spaces might be necessary.
For direct Building for the Future updates from the Cathedral School, click here.
May 15, 2022 - Both motions on Phase 2 presented at the Special General Meeting were approved.
April 30, 2022 - Notice of Special General Meeting on 'Building for the Future' - CLICK HERE
April 6, 2022 - 'Building for the Future' Dialogues
We continue to encourage all questions and comments about our Building for the Future (BFTF) project as we move toward Phase II. We have started receiving excellent queries and feedback and for the sake of interest, transparency, and to show the consideration taken by our planning team, we would like to share these conversations with you weekly. See below for the first conversation between cathedral parishioner, Shaun Peck and Canon Ian Alexander.
REMINDER - If you have a question that hasn't been answered, make sure to submit it to BFTF@christchurchcathedral.bc.ca
Building on the Foundation Video Series
In early 2022, the Very Reverend M. Ansley Tucker hosted a 6-week series with guest facilitators exploring the fascinating origins and development of worship space in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The series covers what motivated the changing configurations of worship space, and what distinguishes cathedrals from “big churches.” Only the below session is publicly posted, so if you want to watch the full series, please email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org for a private link.
A letter from Shaun Peck, Cathedral parishioner:
"I have read and studied the 50+ page report.
After reviewing it, I would support going to Phase II on the condition that the funding is identified to carry out the planning for Phase II and that it does not come from the Cathedral Operating Fund or the Music Fund.
The reason for this is that I continue to be concerned about the Cathedral’s ongoing budgeted operating deficit. In addition, I am concerned that at the end of the 2021 fiscal year that the Cathedral had taken out a $295,675 bank loan. It seems to me however that having done all this work, it should not be wasted. The big question is can funding be found for the Phase II work? Can the Committee enlighten us on where the funding for the next Phase might come from? Ian Alexander as chair of the “Building for the Future” committee should be commended for having stick-handled the work to date. Well done Ian. I appreciate your attention to the details needed for being able to understand the project. I have personally visited three cathedrals in Britain in the last few years that have undergone major renovations. These are Canterbury, Norwich and St Albans. Many of the ideas in this Building for the Future Phase I report I have witnessed in these cathedrals. All of these Cathedrals must have had access to major Capital funds. After the renovations, it seems likely the spaces have become revenue generators.
It must be made clear that there is a difference between the planning costs for Phase II and the projected capital costs that might be required for Phase III. It would be helpful to know whether the Synod’s plans are available and how they will be shown in this Phase I report. Clearly, the planning cannot go ahead without the Synod’s agreement, as the third partner. The aspirations are nice and quite acceptable. However, whenever I look through ideas generated, I think, “Ideas are cheap.” It is the carrying out of ideas that costs money and work.
The term STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) is much preferred to the traditional STEM which is used in education. It is welcomed. In spite of the benefits of space sharing with the Cathedral School the School should be self-funding (fees and grants) and separate from the Cathedral operating budget. The Cathedral operating budget should benefit from the revenue from any shared space paid for by the school. I was assured in the consultation that this was the case.
The music program is a “Crown Jewel” in the function of the Cathedral. The space should ensure maximizing benefits to this program (also known as a ministry). It is doing this with the high-quality video capacity.
A temporary or even permanent home for the Victoria Symphony to practice seems a great idea (similar to that which the Victoria Opera has developed at the Anglican St John’s Church on Quadra Street). Another opportunity for revenue. There is not enough emphasis in the Phase I draft report on revenue generation needed for Cathedral operations. Many of the ideas from the consultations are helpful in the consultations. Remember though “ideas are cheap”.
There is no market analysis for the activities envisaged. For example, I am aware of several churches within ten minutes’ walk where music events are performed (St Andrews Presbyterian, St Andrews Catholic, St John the Divine Anglican and First Metropolitan United). In addition, it is performed at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. A market analysis for at least the music activity would help the planning for Christ Church Cathedral.
I would like to see more reference to the potential role of Pioneer Square - a direct neighbour and historical background where Anglicans were buried during the rapid expansion of Fort Victoria (the predecessor to the City of Victoria) in 1855-1873. Approximately 1300 were interred there, including Indigenous children and adults. The Square (park) is owned and maintained by the City of Victoria. The suggested (p. 35) open area to the west of the Cathedral would involve closing Quadra Street to traffic. This seems a highly unlikely concept, as it would involve closing Quadra Street to traffic and would need the support of the City of Victoria. The City has recently committed a lot of resources to improve the lower (south) part of Quadra Street.
(p. 45) The YMCA needs to find a new space downtown. That was part of the agreement when Concert took over the Y property. If the Y does not find a new location they will owe the City of Victoria $2 Million, as that was what the City gave to the Y when the present property was originally developed. The following is just an idea! Is it conceivable that a new YMCA could be built on the Cathedral Precincts? Would it fit the vision? There could be many advantages - shared meeting space, more interest in Y members attending Cathedral events and services etc. It would be interesting to get an update from the Y on what their updated plans are for the future.
(p. 51) Strategic Priority #3. Pioneer Square should be included in the Cathedral story as it was the burial place for Anglicans between 1855 and 1873. This is all well documented by the Old Cemetery Society. The Square is of great interest to historians and the Cathedral has an interest in attracting tourists to not only the Cathedral but to Pioneer Square. The square has over time been neglected by the City but in the last few years has become a desirable park with a lot of use and with less evidence of undesirable behaviours occurring.
If Wiser Projects is contracted to develop Phase II of this project, I recommend that the above considerations be included. "
* * * * *
A response from Canon Ian Alexander:
Thank you for following up on your verbal comments at one of the recent Building for the Future drop-in sessions by providing these written remarks. Although you and I had a "live" interchange on several of these points, I thought I would just elaborate briefly on a few of them.
I am naturally gratified that you are supportive of moving on to Phase 2 of the planning process. When that decision comes to the special vestry meeting, it will be accompanied by a recommendation from Finance Committee and Management Team with regard to the sources of funding. It's my clear understanding that this will not come out of the operating fund or the Music Fund, and that it will not take the form of a loan.
Any resolution by the parish would have to be contingent on approval by the diocese.
We are working closely with the diocese to align our views and intentions, and expect to be able to speak to that at the vestry meeting -- though of course, ultimately, it will be a decision for Diocesan Council.
With regard to expanded use of Cathedral facilities for cultural activities, we have already conducted a fair bit of research with existing and potential external users, and have considerable confidence that "if we build it, they will come." This will be confirmed with further market research and business modelling in Phase 2. We have recently modified the proposed scope of work for Phase 2 (which will soon be available for everyone to review) to increase its focus on developing a financially viable development plan.
With regard to the Quadra Street "approach" to the Cathedral, this element of the Phase 1 report has occasioned a lot of comment. Like everything else at this stage, it's just a conceptual notion. Nor do I believe the intent was ever to completely close Quadra Street, but rather to slow and calm it as a "hybrid" traffic zone, rather than a main thoroughfare. The developers who have acquired the Y property are very interested in working with us in approaching the city about ways to enhance non-automotive approaches to the whole Quadra / Courtney / Rockland / Pioneer Square nexus. We look forward to doing this in ways that could optimize the priorities of all users.
Your points about Pioneer Square itself are well taken. While the Cathedral is limited in what it can actually do about a city owned and maintained property, we would like to do what we can to improve our own north side along Rockland. Again, we plan to work with nearby developers and the city on this, and will definitely have more to say about it in Phase 2. We look forward to working closely with you and other members of the Friends of Pioneer Park and Old Cemetery Society on this.
Finally, we have been in touch with the Y from time to time during the early stages of this work, and will continue those contacts. I frankly don't think we have space on the precinct to accommodate the Y, but we are always open to possibilities for working together with our neighbours.
Thank you again, Shaun, for weighing into this conversation, and for your support.
Canon Ian Alexander Chair,
Building for the Future Steering Committee
A Letter From Janet McMeekin:
I wanted to follow up on the discussion point at the end of the March 22 "drop-in" session, regarding the future of Memorial Hall. I was intrigued to hear that the general feeling is that the City would not permit demolition of the building. As someone who is involved with and passionate about local heritage building preservation, my experience has been that the majority of current City Council members are not concerned with the retention of our historic structures. Can you tell me more about the opinion that this may not be the case with Memorial Hall?
Also, it seemed fairly clear that the probability of having to keep the building was undesirable, and I wonder how that is reconciled with the fact that it is indeed a memorial, to Bishop Hills. As the Cathedral community, do we not have an obligation there?
Lastly, bringing the issue down to a personal level, over the last 37 years I have witnessed many transformations of use and configuration of the Hall, and indeed all the buildings on the precinct. There are probably not many parishioners remaining for whom there is a connection to past incarnations of these places - settings where parish life was lived. The Hall served for many decades as the parish offices (as well as the Diocesan offices and Columbia House bookstore) and could potentially do so again? The auditorium could be restored to its former size and transformed (as could the gym) into conference space and space for coffee hour / potlucks / pancake suppers, as it used to be; the kitchen could be updated and returned to its full potential. Are these no longer feasible options?
Of course, I do recognize that the specifics of the Hall's fate are only one part of what will be a massive change, and I don't mean to suggest that this is the single most important issue for me, but nevertheless appreciate the opportunity to ask these questions.
Thanks very much,
* * * * *
Response from Canon Ian Alexander:
Thank you very much for attending one of the recent Building for the Future drop-in sessions, and for your followup note about Memorial Hall. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify and expand my earlier off-the-cuff comments. You are absolutely right that Memorial Hall has a long and cherished history. It was built before the Cathedral, and designed by the same architect, J.C.M. Keith. Just to add a bit of precision to the question of the building's name, while the initial proposal in January 1914 was to dedicate the entire building as a memorial to Bishop Hills, by the time the hall was actually being built (in 1923), it was determined more appropriate to dedicate it as a "memorial to the parish men who gave their lives in the 1914-1918 conflict." The main auditorium, or Synod Hall, within the building was to be known as "the Bishop Hills Memorial Hall." (Cf. David Barlow, An Architectural History of the Buildings of Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, B.C., 2013, pp. 11-13.)
There are a variety of views about the heritage value of Memorial Hall, from various perspectives: historical, architectural, aesthetic, functional. Far be it from me to prejudge that outcome. All I meant to indicate during the drop-in session was that that range of opinions exists, and will need to be sorted out as part of the Phase 2 master planning work, so that we will know whether or not Memorial Hall, in its present form, should be accommodated in future precinct planning.
The end result could well be that Memorial Hall is retained and repurposed. What we do know, however, is that it is almost certainly not the optimum location for a modern "STEAM" school. So in that case, a scenario very much like the one you describe might well emerge as an attractive alternative; i.e.: build a new school, move into it, then renovate Memorial Hall for cathedral and diocesan offices, meeting spaces, a commercial kitchen, and other internal and community uses -- e.g. music rehearsal space, etc.
This is only one of several options we will be exploring in Phase 2. Heritage considerations like those you mention will be one of the key factors in reaching a final recommendation, but obviously not the only one.
I hope this addresses your concerns, Janet. Rest assured you are not alone in placing a high value on retaining Memorial Hall, if possible, in future redevelopment plans for the precinct.
Canon Ian Alexander Chair, Building for the Future Steering Committee
A letter from Cathedral parishioner David Collins
You invited queries during the presentation about the precinct reimagining the other day. The one thing I don't get about this, and the architect confirmed it was a low priority at this stage of planning, is what are we doing about finding a sustainable funding stream to underwrite all the work of ministry. I thought the grand concept was to include now a plan to redevelop the south-east corner of the precinct (deanery and diocesan offices) into an income generating development - some office space (for us), maybe some commercial, and residential space.
Clearing out the cathedral of oaken pews, redesigning the high, or any altar, putting in a coffee bar and bookshop, and hoping for a few more commercial musical presentations are not going to lift the cathedral out of our serious financial doldrums, in my view.
Am I missing something?
* * * * *
A reply from Canon Ian Alexander
You and I have had a couple of opportunities to discuss the matters raised in your note: once on the phone, and then during one of the Zoom drop-in q-and-a sessions with members of the parish. With your permission, I’m taking the liberty of summarizing some of the points we discussed here, in order to share them with others who may also be interested.
The reason I'm following up on this subject again now is that we're in the process of posting some of the correspondence received on this subject via the weekly Cathedral e-news, and also on the BFTF web page, to stimulate and encourage more dialogue in advance of the special vestry meeting.
1. There is no doubt that we need a solid business plan to underpin any plans for renovations of, or additions to, existing buildings on the precinct, or construction of new ones. That plan needs to take into account all potential sources of revenue, both one-time and ongoing, both in-cash and in-kind. Those sources could include, inter alia: contributions from on-site or off-site partners; government and foundation grants; individual and institutional fund-raising; etc. We are adjusting the scope of work for Phase 2 of the project to ensure that it includes the development of a robust and realistic set of options for such a business model.
2. We would certainly like such a business plan to incorporate an element of endowment for future programming in the new and improved spaces. However, I think it is unlikely that property development alone is going to guarantee the Cathedral's financial future. What it does have the potential to do is to enhance the precinct's profile and value so that many more people (including Anglicans across the diocese, and ordinary citizens and visitors of all religious backgrounds or none) are visiting it, and using it, and helping to support and sustain it on an ongoing basis.
3. The model you describe, of revenue-generating development on portions of the precinct, is one interesting approach, which we explored at some length in earlier iterations of this work, and will do so again in Phase 2. However, much has changed since then, and other alternatives have emerged which also merit our attention. For one thing, our own space needs have grown, such that the mixed-use development model may be less viable. For another, as present and future height and density of surrounding developments continues to intensify, the value of a less crowded, "greener" space on the precinct also grows, and may actually be able to be monetized to our benefit. In other words, should we seek to maximize density on our property, or encourage it nearby? What are the respective benefits of both approaches -- financially, and also in terms of quality of life and long-term urban planning?
These are the kinds of questions Phase 2 is designed to explore in depth, and ultimately answer. As always, the process will be iterative, with options developed, brought forward for discussion, and sent back for more work.
Hope these comments are helpful to you, David, and to all.
Canon Ian Alexander Chair, Building for the Future Steering Committee
A letter from parishioner Audrey Thomas:
To the BFTF Committee
Re. the plans presented in Phase One – Importance of Lady Chapel
As I waded through the appendices of the Phase One report, I realized that despite the Chapels being favourably mentioned in the consultations (p. 13 - "...They [internal stakeholders] particularly value the small chapels and spaces for quiet contemplation and worship. ...") in the design proposals the Lady Chapel seems to have been eliminated. There is mention of a possible other "consolidated" chapel below the CNJ (p.46). I'm not sure whether that is where the Chapter Room is now, or whether it is on a newly created level below the CNJ. Either way it appears to be inaccessible. In any case this is a strong plea for the retention of the current Lady Chapel for the following reasons:
1. Of the 7 chapels quoted in the report, it is probably the second most used of the seven after the high altar (which I wouldn't consider a chapel but the report does).
2. The Lady Chapel offers intimate and quiet space for meditation (especially by visitors), for smaller weekly services, for smaller celebrations of life - marriage, memorials etc. It probably thus has the most varied yet consistent uses of its space.
3. It is of historic importance, in that it represents the closest link with the former (second cathedral) as it incorporates the stained glass, the reredos and altar, lectern, the Bevington organ - which is a link with the first cathedral as it escaped the fire that destroyed that building. The chapel is also a memorial to two of the men who were responsible for bringing the present cathedral into fruition - Bishop Charles Schofield and Dean Cecil Quainton. Their ashes and those of their respective wives are housed in the pillars. There are also the 1000-year-old Canterbury stones here, and the foundation stone of the present cathedral.
4. The reserved host is kept here.
5. The design of the Chapel would also be a reminder of the way Anglican churches "used to be" - a la Cambridge Camden Society model.
6. Most cathedrals (and my list of visited ones is now over 70!) have side chapels or chapels in the apse dedicated for different purposes - these do not interfere with the design and use of the main space - the nave - which can still be dramatically reoriented.
It would seem that the new builders in the 1920s were mindful of their heritage and wanted to keep many elements and reminders of the second cathedral. Surely we can respect that and keep this part of our heritage even as we move towards the mid- 21st Century. Most of the 70 cathedrals I have visited are hundreds of years old and they respect the old while at the same time modernising their space. The Lady Chapel is sacred space and this is a strong plea for its maintenance.
I have two other concerns:
1. The idea of a more attractive approach to the Cathedral and a "square plaza" at the end of Courtney is interesting, but the loss of Quadra as a traffic artery (and Courtney) in an already increasingly pedestrianized, and bikeway neighbourhood is concerning. Vancouver St has been subdivided, Rockland is no longer through, more pressure will be put on Blanshard and Douglas, which are already busy thoroughfares and bus lanes. With loss of parking spaces to new or expanded buildings, CCC will be in danger of losing congregants who now come from all over the CRD to worship and for events. Envisage South Commons as the plaza "gathering" area?
2. The north exterior side of the Cathedral is a disgrace - I expressed this a few years back when I was on Parish Council. Nothing seems to be proposed for it. It is now a "greenway" with benches - I agree with those who say more should be done in this area - rip up sidewalk and plant shade plants there? - and integrate with plans for conservation and development of Pioneer Square. Somehow link the north side with the South Commons????
* * * * *
A response from Canon Ian Alexander
Thank you for your clear and thoughtful comments. I'm sorry it's taken me a little while to acknowledge and respond to them. Permit me now to briefly address your main points . . .
1. Lady Chapel
Everything you say about the Lady Chapel is true, and virtually all of it was said repeatedly through the Phase 1 process. I think I can safely say that the Lady Chapel will continue to exist, in some form, in whatever changes may eventually be made to the Cathedral interior.
Unfortunately, our Cathedral, being unfinished, does not have an apse, and this inevitably limits how private and sequestered a chapel like this can be. The very preliminary thoughts and options contained in the Phase 1 report seek ways to consolidate our chapel spaces in ways that would enhance these qualities. One possibility might be some sort of combination of the CNJ and Lady Chapel, visible from the West End, yet set apart from the Nave and Chancel.
Nothing in Phase 1 should be considered as "design proposals." Phase 1 is intended to provide a baseline analysis, identify needs, challenges and opportunities, and open our thinking to new ways to respond to them. Design work will happen in Phase 2. Everything you and others have said about the Lady Chapel and other liturgical features of the building will be very much borne in mind through that process.
2. Quadra Street "arrival zone"
This element of the report has occasioned a lot of comment. Let me say at the outset that, like everything else at this stage, it's just a conceptual notion. Nor do I believe the intent was ever to completely close Quadra Street, but rather to slow and calm it as a "hybrid" traffic zone, rather than a main thoroughfare.
The developers who have acquired the Y property are very interested in working with us in approaching the City about ways to enhance non-automotive approaches to the whole Quadra / Courtney / Rockland / Pioneer Square nexus. We look forward to doing this in ways that could optimize the priorities of all users.
I will be silent on your comments about recent changes to other adjacent streets. Suffice it to say that the Cathedral made strong representations with regard to the Vancouver Street changes. Traffic flow (vehicular and otherwise) to and through the precinct will be a major consideration in Phase 2.
Your suggestion about integrating the Cathedral Commons into our considerations of "approach" is a good one. We have had some conversations about this already, and will pursue them in Phase 2.
3. Cathedral North Side / Rockland / Pioneer Park
Totally agree with all your points. The sad state of our north side has been commented on many times. Unfortunately, our ability to unilaterally address these challenges is quite limited. We would hope to work with the group of "friends" of the Old Cemetery, as well as the City, on ways of integrating this into our master plan for the precinct.
My understanding is that the use of Rockland as a "greenway" is somewhat limited by the need to retain it as a potential access route for emergency vehicles. See my comments above on traffic flow in Phase 2.
Audrey, I hope these observations are helpful. Thank you again for your comments, which we will ensure are taken into consideration as we move forward.
Canon Ian Alexander
Chair, Building for the Future Steering Committee
[TP & NP] Hello to you, Dean Ansley!
A suggestion . . . How about adding disability accessibility to the Columbarium? A ‘Stair Master’ option might work and is not very expensive. Just sayin’ . . .
Kind regards, Norman Prelypchan (Sent from Norman and Trudi)
[AT] Hello Norman: Great idea. One of the things the architect noted in Phase 1 is that fully 37% of the cathedral is inaccessible – including the chancel, the chapel of reconciliation, the columbarium, the galleries, parts of the CNJ, etc., etc. One of the bright ideas we’ll be testing in Phase 2 is whether it would be possible to create a “vertical access” to all four levels of the cathedral – which would, of course, include the columbarium.
[TP & NP] Hello Dear Dean! Please feel comfortable in sharing our full support in addressing problems of accessibility to all areas of our magnificent Cathedral. During the halcyon days when Trudi was still able to fully participate as a performing member of the Victoria Symphony, her disabilities most certainly prevented her from accessing the choir loft to join her associates as a performer, as the stairs were not an option for her.
Trudi and Norman Prelypchan
A letter from Malcolm Read
Hello BFTF Steering Committee:
I don’t know if I have questions that can or should be answered, but I have concerns that I want to raise, just to make sure they are part of the consideration of going forward in any particular direction:
First, there are many demands on and expectations for the Anglican Church. Notably this week saw the Archbishop of Canterbury providing a strong verbal apology for the misuse of indigenous people. His verbal apology appeared to go some way to alleviating the pain for some but fell well short of satisfying others - who want the Church to act in ways that at least address their loss of language and culture. I found his attempts to explain why he could not promise what he could not deliver, to be weak! Over the years the Cathedral and diocese have made some attempts to assist in the reclamation of Indigenous languages.
Second, we live in a micro-and macro world that is full of needs - from stewarding climate, to food crises both locally and world-wide, warfare and violence, refugees, inequality and bias and etc.
Third, others both within and outside faith communities are demonstrating other ways of being in the world. I believe it is the United Church that has declared that underused churches across Canada will be converted to rental housing for the unhoused.
Fourth, we are the Cathedral to the Diocese. As such, we have a relationship with all of the other Anglican Churches, many of which may struggle to be viable and to maintain strong practices. Have we/ Are we? aiming to discuss this plan with them? To incorporate their ideas? What happens if the diocese decides that some church buildings are not viable and need to close, while we continue to build? Have there been discussions with the diocese about possible partnerships - for instance, that we invite other, possibly less prosperous churches to partner with us - using their church for a practical Christian cause, and bringing them into our community? Possibly not workable but maybe needing to be faced?
My concerns are not that I think answers to these thoughts / questions should necessarily prevent the Building for the Future but that these - and other possibilities are strenuously considered before we get too far into the excitement of changes. Most of the Cathedral community are of retirement age - the future that we are building for is not very present in the church? Perhaps we need to wrestle with that notion too.
Perhaps the time for us to stride forward with expansive plans needs to be carried with humility and always conscious that the church represents a wealthy, powerful and conservative element in society - whether or not we think that of ourselves.
I am not expecting a reply. You may have dealt with these or more important / complex thoughts already. If so, I have missed those conversations and you will ignore my pov. We appear to be jumping into a very practical part of this plan and I would like to think that we have all thought about not just what we like but what might be the best way to work toward doing God's will?
Reflections from the Dean
Thank you for placing this conversation in the context of the many considerations that capture – and require – our attention. These are such challenging times, not just for the Church, but for civil society. Your focus on the state of our world, and the Church’s response, is – speaking for myself – music to my ears. Over the past three years, beginning with our consultations entitled “Greater Works Than These,” we have been encouraging an “outward turn.” In other words, the pastoral care, and teaching, and fellowship, and liturgy that feed us as a Christian community, are but Step One. Step Two is to find ways to build the kingdom of God on earth.
This means that anything we do to change, improve, or add to our buildings, must never be simply a matter of feathering our nest, or ensuring we have the nicest church in town. Our objective must always be to create a space that supports our mission. The Building for the Future documents suggest that we can be an Anglican centre for spirituality, learning, culture, heritage and community service.
You raise very important concerns about our relationship with our diocese, and the continuing viability of struggling parishes, and our role in partnering with them. Beginning with Greater Works Than These, we have consulted widely and repeatedly with diocesan representatives, in order to learn how our cathedral can be of service – and to offer to be of service. There is still much work to be done here. You remind us that whatever we do needs to be rooted in our values, and examined in the light of our aspirations.
A letter from Shaun Peck
I have supported proceeding with Phase Two on the condition that it would not affect the Cathedral’s operating budget or the music fund.
I am relieved that the restricted fund from the sale of the Niagara Street property has the ability to contribute $245,000 to the phase two of the project.
I acknowledge that the Diocese will not make a decision on their commitment until the parish has approved the plan.
The decision of the diocese is the responsibility of the Bishop. It seems the synod has no say in the matter. Where will the Diocese find the funds for their contribution of $245,000?
It seems from my research they will need to apply to the Anglican Foundation of Canada. The Anglican Foundation of Canada based on their December 31st 2020 financial statements had assets of $19,091,355.
If improvements are to be made to the Cathedral Precincts in the lifetime of most members of the Parish, I propose that the grandiose plans that I have read be simplified. I suggest that the best ideas from the Phase 1 of the project be reviewed - such as transforming the interior of the nave into a joint religious and performance space. This may involve floor replacement, pew replacement with movable chairs, possible redesign of the altar space.
The funding sources for this can be the Niagara restricted funds and other funds identified in the potential plans including the Anglican Foundation of Canada. This could be accomplished in the lifetime of most of the parishioners and likely within a couple of years. It would enable improved revenue generation based on the attractiveness of the performance space. It would ensure the use of the space as a sacred space for the performance of the liturgy.
Based on the above I will now vote that the Parish not approve moving to Phase Two.
A response from Canon Ian Alexander
Thank you for your recent message, setting out your misgivings about the Phase Two proposal for Building for the Future.
Of course, one entirely respects your (and each parishioner's) right and responsibility to reach their own conclusions about this important decision. However, I hope you won't mind if I respond to a few of the assertions and assumptions in your note.
1. The School Board has now unanimously confirmed its commitment to its $250K share of the cost of Phase 2. If the Cathedral does the same on Sunday, then the diocesan decision will be taken through a vote of Diocesan Council (the "synod between synods") scheduled for June 2nd. It will not be a unilateral decision by the Bishop.
It's my understanding that the Diocese is considering the creation of a revolving fund that could be used to help fund early planning and feasibility work on a variety of potential diocesan property developments, including the Cathedral's. This fund could be created from a portion of the proceeds from the sale of other real estate assets.
2. I believe the Anglican Foundation of Canada caps its contributions to capital projects at $15,000, so this is unlikely to be a major source of financing for our work -- though of course, we would apply.
3. We simply cannot move forward with any of the improvements we would like to make -- including those you describe -- until we have done due diligence on our buildings and property, and have a comprehensive long-term plan for them. That is what Phase 2 is designed to provide.
It is almost certainly true that realization of the whole vision will only come in the lifetimes of our successors. But we have a unique opportunity to build a solid foundation for that work. Within a year, we will have completed the portions of Phase 2 which are required to underpin a credible design and sustainable business plan, so that we can begin fund-raising for the Cathedral improvements you describe.
I wish as much as you do that we could simply press ahead, but it is clear to me that we need this essential first step. I hope you and others might come to see and accept that, however reluctantly.
Could you please let me know if you would be willing for this further exchange of correspondence between us to be shared on the Cathedral website?
Canon (Lay) Ian Alexander
Chair, Building for the Future Steering Committee
A follow up response from Shaun Peck
You are welcome to share our correspondence. I greatly admire your leadership in developing the "Building for the future" plan. I tried to confirm your statement about the ceiling on grants from the Anglican Foundation of Canada but I was unable. They gave out $1,000,000 in 2019. They do have a policy of only 4% of assets being distributed (similar to the Victoria Foundation).
I appreciate the clarification about the Diocesan Council's decision-making responsibility.
The sale of other real estate assets may be a contentious issue for the Diocesan Council. Will this mean selling churches and their properties? Or perhaps there are other land holdings. I am not sure I understand the "revolving fund" concept and the source of these funds. It is important that sale of capital items are not used for operating purposes. In the case of the "Building for the Future" plan it would seem appropriate that planning for capital improvements would be a legitimate use of realised capital funds (the sale of property or investments).
The latest minutes available on the web site are of the September 2021 meeting of the Diocesan Council. They met on January 27th and April 28th in 2022 but those minutes are not yet posted on their web site. However, if anyone wants to review the many issues the Diocesan Council deals with I found there is a link to a Dropbox where all the issues are discussed and voted on. The agendas for the January 27th and April 28th meetings are posted there. Their work is greatly appreciated.
If the Cathedral was to embark on a simplified plan to replace the floor of the nave, replace the pews with movable chairs and perhaps alter the outline of the altar area I am uncertain that it would require "due diligence on our buildings and property." It would certainly involve the development of a carefully prepared plan.
Thanks for your response,