Most people having their say on the earthquake-prone Hawke's Bay Opera House support strengthening the building.

However, only a small number of submissions have been returned to the Hastings District Council.

Public consultation is well under way, with Mayor Lawrence Yule saying the council was "focusing on that consultation process".

Mr Yule said he talked to staff after the consultation process opened about two weeks ago and they informed him the majority of returned submissions were in support of strengthening the building to a level of 70-75 per cent of the National Building Standards.


While the number returned was not great, the general feedback was that people wanted the building strengthened, with emails and conversations focusing on that.

"So my sense is that is what the people are saying," Mr Yule said.

The Independent Working Group for the project and Hastings District Property chairman Peter Snelling have been in discussion with the Chinese investor who was looking at the possibility of a hotel.

"Peter is on our Independent Working Party but he is the chair of our property committee, so he has the most experience in these sorts of things," he said.

"I can't give you an update whether it is positive or negative because it's all been handed to them to try to have that conversation directly."

With the consultation process closing on March 29, the group is asking the public four questions:

- "Are you in favour of strengthening the Opera House Theatre to 70-75 per cent of National Building Standards, at an estimated cost of $10-11 million?

- "Are you in favour of building a permanent roof over the Plaza if a feasibility study shows it is good value for money, estimated at $2 million?

- "Do you have ideas for the future use of the Municipal Building?

- "What are your thoughts on the overall Tihei Heretaunga strategy?"

Mr Yule said it was a significant issue and people's views were needed.

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