Government chips in for Opera House
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.’’
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.