The Chronicle

Curtain falls on cinema

- SAM TURNER

A MYSTERIOUS new developmen­t is set to replace Roma’s only cinema after the beloved business announced its final curtain call. Cinema Roma staff took to Facebook on Thursday night to express their sadness at the prospect of moving on after a long closure, which residents had hoped would end with the cinema’s reopening. “We would like to take this opportunit­y to thank all our loyal supporters, followers and hopefuls that continued to watch the page and live with hope that the cinema would one day reopen … unfortunat­ely, this is not to be the case,” the post read.

“Maybe cinemas have had their day and are a thing of the past and can only survive in the big cities and in regions that are well run, and their councils realise the value of having community facilities for their residents?”

The Cinema Roma post revealed the complex had been sold, three years after the business’s doors were closed to the community, and would be redevelope­d for another use.

The Western Star spoke with the new owners of the building, who wished to remain anonymous. They said their venture would most likely open at the beginning of 2022.

“It all depends when we can get a builder in there, as everyone has been quite busy to due to Covid at the moment, but we’re hoping for the start of next year,” she said.

“It’ll be turned into something for the community to use, but that’s all I can give away at this time.

“We’d like to thank the owners of Cinema Roma for doing a wonderful job of running it for so long, until Netflix basically took over.”

Maranoa Regional Council announced in March this year that it would not proceed with the purchase of the cinema, despite Mayor Tyson Golder’s previous support for doing so.

In 2019, Mr Golder prepared a budget which included plans to buy the cinema.

“It’s no secret that in the last budget I proposed, I proposed council buy the cinema and change the operating model to have a low-cost ticket model,” he said at the time

“That is still my view. As I am standing for mayor again, I think it‘s important to reiterate I still believe in that.”

In December last year, the council resolved to delegate the decision about whether or not to buy the cinema to CEO Julie Reitano, after several councillor­s declared a conflict of interest as they had placed election corflutes on the grounds of the cinema during campaigns.

Hints about a possible deal between the cinema and the council were aired on social media last year, when the owners of the building shared a post from Mr Golder and his plan to buy the theatre and sell $5 tickets.

The council has been contacted for comment.

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Cinema Roma.

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