A cinema in Cobram has taken another step closer to becoming reality after Moira Shire Council approved a development permit for the building.
The project been welcomed by councillors as a great asset for the town and something to engage youth in the area.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve a permit for buildings and works for the cinema complex, reduction in car parking requirement and waiver of loading and unloading requirement at its February meeting in Cobram.
The permit comes with a number of conditions, including acoustic works and measures to combat any potential noise pollution, light mitigation works as necessary, including at least three wheelchair seats per cinema and care is taken to preserve the condition of existing infrastructure adjacent to the site.
Council notes on the application said it was considered the proposal would result in a net community benefit, and the design was consistent with and respected the character of the commercial area.
Cr Ed Cox said the proposal had been a long, drawn-out affair with all involved to even get it to this stage.
‘‘Cobram did have a picture theatre that burned down quite a number of years ago now and it was a social hub, not just for Cobram but for people from the surrounding areas, including NSW,’’ Cr Cox said.
‘‘People would come here and meet at the old picture theatre.
‘‘For us to go down the path again and to have a picture theatre here in Cobram would be a great asset to the Cobram community and to possibly engage our youth as well.
‘‘The youth have been some of the key supporters of this proposal to get it up and running in conjunction with Cobram Community Enterprise and they must be congratulated as a volunteer group that’s taken the lead with this whole project to get it up and developed within the shire, especially within Cobram.’’
There was originally some concern with the reduction of car parking available for patrons, but council took into account the fact the main youth demographic likely to attend the cinema do not own cars and were unlikely to require car parking, and that people would arrive in pairs or groups, rather than single cars.
‘‘There’s been a bit of a waiver there with the car parking, and I think that’s been pretty good common sense on behalf of the shire, because it is in an area where there is adequate parking,’’ Cr Cox said.
‘‘I know there’s a long way to go before we actually do sit down in the picture theatre and enjoy a film, but at least we’re on the right track.’’
The proposal will see the Cobram Masonic Lodge building at 13 Main St redeveloped with the cinema an extension to the rear and side of the building.
It will have two screens, the largest including a stage area and the capacity to seat about 100 people, and the second smaller screen cinema to seat about 70.