Opera House will be community driven

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Hawke's Bay Opera House and Municipal Buildings,
Hawke's Bay Opera House and Municipal Buildings,

Hastings District Council is considering working with a group of culturally-minded people as it decides how best to strengthen the Hawke's Bay Opera House so that it can be reopened.

Earlier this month the council agreed in principle to strengthen the earthquake prone building and asked that a detailed project and funding plan be prepared.

At a meeting tomorrow, the council will be asked to decide how best to involve the arts and culture community so that the rebuilding forms an overarching strategy to grow the creative economy.

A strong message that came through the public consultation on whether to strengthen the building was that the project was community driven, Mayor Lawrence Yule said.

Of the more than 3000 public responses, 80 per cent asked that the building be upgraded and reopened to the public.

Mr Yule said the arts community were very strong and supportive of upgrading the building but emphasised that there was a bigger vision that involved the Municipal and Plaza buildings.

Because of this, the council is setting up a process to involve the arts community "right, front and centre", Mr Yule said.

A report to council recommends that it consider working alongside the recently established Coalition of Cultural Organisations (COCO). Members come from the cultural sector to advocate for consistent cultural planning.

One member was Hawke's Bay Arts Festival director Pitsch Leiser who said it made sense for the council to use the group as a sounding board as they all wanted to progress the arts in Hastings.

"The better consultation the more informed decisions," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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