THE Wonthaggi Cinema must remain under the management of the Bass Coast Shire Council, or risk being closed down, according to the Bass Coast Fine Film Group.
The group is concerned the cinema, at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, would not survive if its management was contracted out, as it would struggle to return a profit.
Bass Coast Fine Film Group secretary Larry Hills said the cinema is a great place with a great selection of films and the council should continue operating it.
“We’re pretty happy with what’s going on. It’s not going to be sold because it’s part of the art centre but possibly it might be contracted out.
“The shire wouldn’t lose complete control, but it raises questions on if it would run in the same way.” He said turning the cinema operations over to a private operator would be risky.
“They’d probably lose money and close up.
“The shire’s not losing money, but they’re not making a huge amount either.”
The group raised the concerns with councillors at a recent Community Connection Session.
Mr Hills and committee member Julia Tasker also used the time to update councillors on the group’s work and thank council for its ongoing support.
Mr Hills said the ball’s in their court, as the group’s main role is to choose from a council list which films they can show to their members.
The group remains strong, boasting 380 casual and full-time members.
The council has allocated $1.589 million to works at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre in the 2017-18 budget.
Meanwhile, the public is waiting to see the 606 works in The Robert Smith Social Realism Collection.
The collection was offered to the shire last year and accepted by the previous council.
The works will be housed at the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre and the Old Post Office in Wonthaggi.
Council’s coordinator of recreation and culture, Mark Lindsay, said council expects to host a launch for the collection around November this year.
“Council is continuing to work with Mr Smith and has commenced priority work on the cataloguing and conservation of the collection,” he said.
As for the future of the Wonthaggi Cinema, Mr Lindsay said the council will continue to provide fine film at the centre, working closely with the Bass Coast Fine Film Group.
“At this stage there are no plans for any changes to the management of the centre.”