If you’ve been following the storyline of the Civic Theatre saga in the Star over the last couple years, one thing is clear from our letters to the editor page. Like health care, dogs and waterfront development… locals are passionate about this facility.
Wednesday’s front page wrote another chapter in this story. A group of avid recreation lovers have stepped forward in hopes of transforming the space where movie lovers have laughed, wept and been whisked away to other worlds for many generations.
The preliminary plans for the proposed Downtown Athletic Club look solid. Without asking for public dollars, climbing and squash advocates are looking to breathe new life into a space that has sat vacant for far too long. In a project estimated in the $400,000 range, the old theatre would once again become a hive of activity.
The idea is likely causing distress amongst those who thirst for a return of the big screen movie experience in Nelson. It’s time for those people to step forward and take real action.
The Civic Theatre is an historic heartbeat in our community. Many feel a town without such a facility is less of a community. We would agree. But what are the options?
The movie industry has changed dramatically since the Civic first started to show films so many decades ago. Multiplexes, home theatres and the YouTube generation has robbed the silver screen romantics of an experience so many grew up with.
Still, there are many small communities making movie theatres work. Trail, Salmon Arm, Oliver, Burns Lake, Metaline Falls… they all have modestly successful facilities. Whether ambitious private operators or non-profit societies, small communities have kept the big screen dream alive.
Unfortunately in this community, nobody has stepped forward. And because of that, it would appear the Civic Theatre is doomed. If there is not a solid alternative proposal before April 17, the city’s decision to go with the athletic club will be easy.
It might just be the right fit.