Gov­ern­ment chips in for Opera House

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - SIMON HENDERY

The Gov­ern­ment will con­trib­ute $4 mil­lion to­wards strength­en­ing Hast­ings’ 100-year-old earth­quake-prone opera house, with work due to be­gin in Au­gust.

Cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s con­tri­bu­tion to the restora­tion – from the re­gional cul­tural and her­itage fund – was an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Bill English dur­ing a visit to Hawke’s Bay last week.

Hast­ings ratepay­ers will still need to make a mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar con­tri­bu­tion to the project.

The Hawke’s Bay Opera House and ad­ja­cent Mu­nic­i­pal Build­ing were closed in 2014.

Parts of the build­ing fell well short of the re­quire­ment to reach at least 34 per cent of the na­tional build­ing stan­dard, forc­ing its owner, Hast­ings District Coun­cil, to con­sider whether it should em­bark on a costly re­pair project or look at the op­tion of de­mo­li­tion.

Last year the coun­cil ap­proved $11 mil­lion of fund­ing to bring the her­itage one cat­e­gory build­ing up to be­tween 70 and 75 per cent of the na­tional build­ing stan­dard.

Hast­ings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the district was grate­ful the Gov­ern­ment had made a ‘‘mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion’’ that recog­nised ‘‘the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing this na­tional trea­sure’’.

Work on the restora­tion is set to be­gin in Au­gust af­ter con­struc­tion plans are ap­proved by the coun­cil in July.

The coun­cil’s group man­ager for com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties and pro­grammes, Ali­son Banks, said the restora­tion and re-open­ing of the Opera House would have wide-rang­ing ben­e­fits for tourism, busi­ness, cul­tural and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in Hast­ings and Hawke’s Bay.

Labour’s Tuk­i­tuki can­di­date Anna Lorck said she was pleased with the Gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial sup­port.

‘‘Labour has and al­ways will be a com­mit­ted sup­porter of the Opera House.’’

SIMON HENDERY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Tuk­i­tuki MP Craig Foss, Prime Min­is­ter Bill English and Hast­ings Mayor Lawrence Yule at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House last week where English an­nounced the Gov­ern­ment’s $4m con­tri­bu­tion to the stregth­en­ing project.

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