Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mike Butler: How the Opera House was devalued


Incomplete advice from engineers plus council indecision has destroyed of the value of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House.

Accounting manager Joanne Guildford told the Hastings District Council’s finance committee that a further $3.738-million “impairment” in the value of the buildings needed to be recorded for 2014/15.

This brings the total value loss to $10-million since engineers alleged the Opera House and Municipal Building were earthquake prone and the council closed them last year.

An assessment by Tailrisk Economics on expert advice to the council shows:
1. The Hawke’s Bay Opera House is currently safer than driving in a car,
2. The costs of strengthening hugely outweigh the benefits,
3. The council should get safety and legal advice before spending millions of dollars.
Closing the buildings and fencing them off without seeking safety or legal advice has proved to be a costly mistake for the council and Hastings ratepayers.

The report titled “Assessment of the Review of the Hastings Opera House project and subsequent assurance reviews” by Ian Harrison of Tailrisk Economics, Wellington, says the life-safety risk to audiences in the building as it stands now is extremely small.

The odds of a concertgoer being killed at a three-hour performance is about 110 million to one, while the odds of being killed in a three-hour car drive is something like 1.5 million to one.

There are buildings in Napier that have undergone assessments similar to those the Opera House and Municipal Buildings were subjected to and are still in full use.

The report “Assessment of the Review of the Hastings Opera House project and subsequent assurance reviews” may be read at http://hboperahousesanity.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Opera-House-report-review-2-2.pdf .

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