Cinema back on track

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Kenji Sato

Plans to re­place the old Melba The­atre are back up and run­ning again, af­ter hav­ing been stuck in limbo for more than a year.

Rob Morey, the sec­re­tary trea­surer of the cinema devel­op­ment project, said it had been a ‘‘very frus­trat­ing 14 months’’ and was re­lieved the plan was fi­nally back on track.

‘‘We now have a plan­ning per­mit and a signed lease agree­ment, so the project can now only move for­ward from here,’’ Mr Morey said.

The lease agree­ment was signed in Au­gust by Freema­son grand­mas­ter Don Reynolds, who has agreed to share the Co­bram Ma­sonic Lodge’s build­ing space with the in­com­ing cinema.

Fundrais­ing ef­forts for the cinema had been stalled, but Mr Morey said he was keen to re­store com­mu­nity con­fi­dence that the new cinema would be­come a re­al­ity.

‘‘The com­mu­nity was very ex­cited about the project, and we had real mo­men­tum go­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘We are very sorry for the de­lay, but from now on it will be full steam ahead.’’

Moira Shire Coun­cil has al­ready ap­proved the plans, which de­scribe a non-for­profit com­mu­nity cinema with two the­atre rooms and one func­tion room for pub­lic events and live per­for­mances.

Mr Morey said the old Melba The­atre had been the com­mu­nity gath­er­ing place be­fore it burned down in 2010, and he hoped the new cinema would serve the same pur­pose.

‘‘In a small coun­try town you need meet­ing places and the Melba The­atre was cer­tainly one of them,’’ he said.

‘‘Since my child­hood, the the­atre has been a meet­ing place for the whole com­mu­nity, both young and old.

‘‘To be able to give that back to the com­mu­nity is ex­cit­ing for the town.

‘‘It’s been a pretty tough year for the com­mu­nity in gen­eral with the strug­gling dairy in­dus­try and a few other prob­lems.

‘‘I think a new cinema will be some pos­i­tive news for them, and it’s some­thing for our com­mu­nity to strive for.’’

Mr Morey is cur­rently look­ing for peo­ple to join the plan­ning com­mit­tee, which lost sev­eral mem­bers over the 14-month hia­tus.

Any­one in­ter­ested in join­ing the plan­ning com­mit­tee can phone Rob Morey on 0427 721 989.

Go ahead: Freema­son grand­mas­ter Don Reynolds and sec­re­tary/trea­surer of Co­bram’s cinema devel­op­ment project Rob Morey sign the agree­ment.

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