Drought funding to be allocated to popular Blyth movie theatre

UNITED EFFORT: Cinema committee chairman Ian Roberts says the whole Blyth community is behind the successful operation of the local movie theatre.

UNITED EFFORT: Cinema committee chairman Ian Roberts says the whole Blyth community is behind the successful operation of the local movie theatre.

Movie fans will get a better deal under the federal government's drought-busting $350,000 funding for Blyth Cinema.

This grant is part of $1 million drought aid that has been allocated by the government to Wakefield Regional Council.

As well, the cinema's community-based committee will chip in $220,000 towards upgrading the cinema.

Under the project, a second cinema house will be built at the site and the carpark will be sealed.

Committee chairman Ian Roberts said the cinema had operated for 15 years and the anniversary celebrations might be timed with the finishing of the upgrade project.

"We have been able to build our funds over that time," he said.

"The cinema is owned and operated by the whole community. We have about 10 members on the committee and 20 volunteers.

"We had volunteers for the first 11 years so what profits went back into the bank we have used to put in a new roof, seats, projector and re-carpet half the building.

"We have been building our funds for just such an occasion as the upgrade.

"We are grateful to council for determining that we would be one of the four recipients.

"We serve the area from Kadina to Burra and at least Jamestown to Owen and every town in between.

"We are happy for the regional community that we can can upgrade the facility to make it a better place to show more movies more often and run popular ones more often.

"We will probably host a lot more fundraisers for community groups."

Council decided to submit the project and others to the government for approval. The projects:

  • Extension of the Blyth Cinema - $350,000.
  • The Owen Silo Art Project - $100,000.
  • Balaklava and Hamley Bridge main streets - $550,000
  • Should the government approve the projects, council has allocated another $450,000 to increase the Balaklava and Hamley Bridge main streets' budget to $1 million.

Mayor Rodney Reid said council was excited to throw its support behind projects that had already been well developed and supported by the community.

"The cinema is already a magnet for tourists and a fabulous asset for Wakefield so supporting that project and enhancing the area with better carparking will be a great boost for the community," he said.

The cinema extension will allow for a second theatre at the venue with its own city-quality projection and sound equipment, sloped floor and 51 seats plus three disability spaces.

A second foyer will provide an all-weather function space, with rainwater tank, office space, storage, landscaping and the new carpark to allow more vehicles to park on-site and reduce dust.

Mr Reid said the Owen Silo Art Project would bring people to the region and provide a "wonderful feature for our residents to visit".

"With regards to the main street projects, the community has already told council ... that improving main streets within our townships is important ... so we expect enhancement of them to be a key focus in the 2030 Strategic Plan," he said.

"Providing an additional $450,000 for the main street project will bring about better outcomes for Balaklava and Hamley Bridge, making those areas with heavy pedestrian and car traffic overall more enticing and attractive."

Mr Reid said the strategic planning would eventually see projects and activities for the whole region take shape.

"Council is still planning to investigate a childcare facility in Port Wakefield but, given the timing constraints for the drought funding and the complexity of the project, we believe this is best managed through a separate process," he said.

The approval process for Council's submission to the Federal Government may take several weeks.