June 8th, 2021Cinema frustration
THE Daylesford Cinema Committee is “frustrated, bitterly disappointed and gobsmacked” that plans for the Hepburn Hub at The Rex are being revisited by Hepburn Shire Council, with the project now being workshopped by councillors.
President Gina Lyons said that the $13 million project going back to the drawing board, with one of the options including dumping the plans, was unbelievable.
The cinema, when it first started, was housed in The Rex but lost its home when renovations started in 2016, running instead, at times, out of the community rooms at Victoria Park in Daylesford and the Daylesford Town Hall.
But the committee members and volunteers were hopeful they would be back in the centrally located Rex building by the middle of this year.
“There have been so many twists and turns with The Rex project over the past five years, but when the council awarded a contract to Hutchinson Builders in September 2020 and a contract was signed with them, we thought finally the project was at a stage where it would be completed mid-2021,” Ms Lyons said.
“Prior to recommencing screenings, the cinema will need access to the site in order to retrain the volunteers and rewrite all of our procedures for operating in the new environment. This will take about four weeks.
“The build will take six months. The way things are going it is looking increasingly unlikely that we will be in the new cinema in time for the December holidays.
“December/January was always a very busy time for us and we really hoped that we would be in the new cinema this Christmas so that we could offer the latest movies to our community and the visitors in town, as well as replenish our coffers, which have been seriously impacted )over) the last four years.
“What we don’t want to see is the job retendered, because by the time that process is complete and a recommendation made to council, another year will have been wasted.
“How do we feel? Frustrated. Bitterly disappointed. Gobsmacked.”
A Hepburn Shire Council spokesperson said the workshop was a confidential briefing but it was on track for a report to be tabled at the June council meeting.
Words: Donna Kelly