Cinema back on track
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.