MEMBERS of the Bass Coast Fine Film Group are hopeful they can keep their place at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre.
Larry Hills from the film club is urging its 220 members to contact their local councillors as a draft business plan for the arts centre is prepared by the council.
“It is still important that you make your voices heard by writing to your local councillor before the last council meeting on September 21, to tell the council how important the cinema is to the community,” Larry said.
“Playing films at the theatre is important, as it’s the only theatre screen in the entire Bass Coast Shire.
“Especially with tourists and school holidays, the theatre gets used a lot.”
The Bass Coast Shire Council is working closely with the film group as it tries to find a way to make a theatre viable in the future.
Mark Lindsay, the coordinator of Recreation at Culture at the Bass Coast Shire, said the council is committed to working with all Wonthaggi Union Community Art Centre user groups, including the Bass Coast Fine Film Group.
“We want to find the most positive outcome possible, and encourage the community to provide feedback and attend information sessions on the WUCAC Business Case now available on the council’s website,” Mr Lindsay said.
An information session is to be held to discuss the plan on Wednesday, August 31, with members of the council available to speak to the public.
The draft business plan acknowledges the important role that the cinema plays in Wonthaggi.
Some of the key recommendations of the draft report include:
• Facility upgrades
• Improved management
• Shared programming for live performance and film, and
• Funding opportunities.
The centre is the only one if its kind in Bass Coast, and provides auditorium seating to over 400 guests for a variety of events.
It was opened in 1982 after fire destroyed the original building, constructed by the community during the coal mining era.
Members of the fine film group have been concerned about the future of the theatre’s use for films since manager Keith Stevens announced his retirement.
Mr Stevens is currently negotiating the sale of the digital projection equipment used to play films at the cinema.
A community information session regarding the draft business plan will be held at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre on Wednesday, August 31 from 5pm until 6.30pm.