Cin­ema and plan­e­tar­ium pro­posed for Air­lie Beach

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

RON Har­ris wasn’t look­ing for another project when he sold his heli­copter business, Heli­taxi, last year, but he just so hap­pens to have stum­bled on one that is likely to cap­ture the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity’s hearts.

Mr Har­ris is lodg­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion with the coun­cil to es­tab­lish two cine­mas and a plan­e­tar­ium in Air­lie Beach.

MR HAR­RIS wants to cre­ate two 42-seat cine­mas on the ground floor of the Air­lie Es­planade’s Beach Plaza, with a third, “plan­e­tar­ium” cin­ema up­stairs.

The two ground level cine­mas would be equipped with the lat­est pro­jec­tion tech­nol­ogy, 3D and 2D screens and high qual­ity sound.

The plan­e­tar­ium would fea­ture full dome tech­nol­ogy, man­u­fac­tured in Thai­land.

Mr Har­ris’s ma­te­rial change of use ap­pli­ca­tion, ex­pected to be heard by the coun­cil next week, would al­low him to sound­proof two of the va­cant ground floor shops, with a bar area in be­tween and book­ing area across the hall.

Mr Har­ris wants to show “all sorts of films” in­clud­ing the lat­est re­leases, old movies and, in the plan­e­tar­ium, ed­u­ca­tional and 360-de­gree films.

“We want to ask the com­mu­nity what films they would like to see and we’ll get them in,” he said.

“And we’ll have theme days like Star Wars days... Mad Max days, Juras­sic Park, or some of the old films – golden oldies.”

Mr Har­ris is ex­pect­ing to in­vest about $750,000 to get the project over the line and says he’s “very con­fi­dent” the in­vest­ment will pay off.

“For a while we’ve been talk­ing to peo­ple around Air­lie and with­out ex­cep­tion, ev­ery­one... is ex­cited,” he said.

The restau­rants cur­rently at Beach Plaza would re­main, with Mr Har­ris say­ing he’d like to time screen­ings so cus­tomers could have a meal be­fore or af­ter­wards.

Salt owner Wayne As­p­land said he thought this would be “fan­tas­tic”.

“We’ve been chas­ing a cin­ema for years. We need things for fam­i­lies to do... any­thing that’s en­ter­tain­ment will be help­ful to the whole of the area,” he said,

Air­lie’s coun­cil­lor Jan Clif­ford said she was “over the moon”.

“I will cer­tainly be sup­port­ing it when it comes be­fore coun­cil, just as I sup­ported the Tuk Tuks and the (Aqua) ‘duck’ and all sorts of other things that are main­land at­trac­tions,” she said.

We want to ask the com­mu­nity what films they would like to see — Ron Har­ris


PLAN­E­TAR­IUM: An artist’s im­pres­sion of the plan­e­tar­ium pro­posed for Air­lie Beach.

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