February for say on opera house

By Sophie Price

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A report on Hawke's Bay Opera House made slow progress with city councillors.
A report on Hawke's Bay Opera House made slow progress with city councillors.

People will get to have their say on the Hawke's Bay Opera House from as early as February 19.

Following a robust debate in Chambers yesterday, councillors moved the motion to receive the report from the acting general manager for strategy and development Lex Verhoeven, titled Statement of Proposal for Investment in Opera House and Plaza.

However, it took almost an hour and much discussion around the wording of the report before it was received.

Some councilors thought the wording was not direct and simple enough to take to the public - noting that many of their constituents simply did not have the time to read such a document.

In this vein Councillor Rod Heaps asked if there was any consideration given to peoples' time.

"I look through these two documents and think what a hell of a lot of words," he said.

"Was there any consideration going to be given to the average Joe Bloggs whose time is of the essence in actually understanding exactly what we are getting at here?"

Mr Verhoeven said that was a paramount consideration, with mayor Lawrence Yule weighing in saying such a document, and its summary was needed to meet the Auditor General's requirements for a special consultation.

"This is a special consultation, you have to prepare a proposal you have to have the total document and you have to have a summary document," he said. "All of which has to be signed off by the office of the Auditor General as being fair and reasonable, valid, honest and transparent."

Councillor Henare O'Keefe asked if this report was the only way to reach people - saying there were all sorts of other ways to explain to the constituency what was happening.

"I think we are restricting ourselves in this modern day and age," he added.

"The world is a village now - on my Facebook there are 5000 people. "So I think we should broaden our horizons in getting the word out there."

After the meeting deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers clarified that the motion passed with just some wording changes to the two documents.

"What we have asked them to do is just tweak the wording a little bit make it very clear that the opera house is stage one of the Tihei Heretaunga project, that it is standalone in the event the community don't want us to proceed with the other parts of the vision," she said. "And that the other parts of the vision will be fully consulted on in the future before council make a decision to proceed.

"So it is just to give some more clarity around the fact that it is just the opera house at this point."

She said the plaza upgrade was included in stage one of the project.

The revised document is due next week.

- For more information on the topic, people can visit: growingourculturalheart.co.nz

- Hawkes Bay Today

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