Planning blooper halts cathedral construction

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Illustration: Signatur Arkitekter AS
11:31 CET+01:00
Residents of Alta in northern Norway had their faith in the authorities shaken by a planning blunder that has halted the construction of a 120 million kroner ($21 million) church.

A terrible measuring mistake has forced builders to stop working on the partially built Northern Lights Cathedral. The town’s eager planners — not builders or the architect — put it too close by several metres to a community swimming pool on one side and a road on the other.

The need for an expensive new church was disputed from the start. When Alta residents were consulted, they asked for a school kitchen, music room and just a plain classroom for students who had to brave the icy winter air to walk to classes every day at a nearby school. Winters are extreme in Alta, a town situated 1,900 kilometres north of the capital Oslo.

The challenging church was due to be built by Christmas 2012. Builders, using techniques described as “advanced”, face little that is plumb or square in the complicated, Crypton-like design.

Now the main building contractor awaits the go-ahead to resume work amid mounting costs.

"I don't want to comment on the amount but it's costing us quite a lot," Eirik Kivijervi from building firm Ulf Kivijervi AS told local newspaper Altaposten on Thursday.

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"Today we're securing the building site, then we're sending the guys home because we have other work for them," he said.

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