The closure of the Hawke's Bay Opera House has hurt local hospitality providers in the pocket.

In his submission, the group's Hawke's Bay regional manager, Chris Hince, said members were in support of the council spending $10-$11 million to bring the building up to a strengthening level of 70-75 per cent. He was one of the 80 per cent of the 3049 respondents who wanted to save the grand old lady.

"Returning the Opera House to its full operation status is paramount to the growth of Hastings' and Hawke's Bay's tourism and visitor numbers and therefore economy," he said.

"Our members have noted the reduction in bookings for the Opera House productions for motels, cafes, bars and restaurants as many attendees from out of town use these services while attending shows.


"We definitely need the Opera House to reopen, providing a venue for the performing arts this city so desperately needs."

While Hawke's Bay Business Association did not support the strengthening work, its chairman Michael Whittaker, who spoke to council, said his members had also felt the pinch.

"They have definitely noticed a downturn, no question, and there is a desire to get something going," he said.

The NZ Institute of Architects' Brent Scott said his body was also in favour of strengthening it but noted that the work would not go as far as the restoration of the building.

"We support the strengthening to this level but it should be carried out in a way so as not to destroy the possible restoration of elements in the future," he said.

Ken Keys, who has been involved in the dramatic arts for decades, said knocking the Opera House down just because it wasn't being used enough would be like the governments of India and Egypt knocking down the Taj Mahal and the pyramids for the same reason.

He said the whole complex "desperately needs" an integrated vision - a vision that was community driven and orientated. There were also arguments to strengthen the building to the minimum requirement under the Building Act of a strengthening level of 34 per cent.

This prompted councillor and mayor hopeful Adrienne Pierce to say there have been some really strong submissions to this end.

She asked whether there was any chance for council to relook at this option.

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule, a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand, responded saying this debate could be revisited.

He noted, however, that the council made an in-principle decision to consult on 70-75 per cent.

The Opera House restoration has not only received strong local support from respondents to the public consultation.

Heritage New Zealand, Creative New Zealand and the office of the Governor-General have also expressed their support in the form or written submissions.

Discussion on submissions concludes today.