Resolution passed to keep cinema in The Rex

A resolution to the long running Daylesford Community Theatre dispute has been found after a new arrangement to keep the cinema within The Rex was unanimously passed at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Councillors had voted unanimously to look for an alternative location for the cinema at last month’s Hepburn Shire Council meeting after dismissing a proposal to build a third floor on the recently acquired arcade. 

Supporters of the cinema have consistently lobbied for the facility to remain within The Rex and have met regularly with both councillors and council officers over the past month to search for a resolution.   

Daylesford Community Theatre president Gina Lyons said the proposal was the best possible outcome for the cinema and was quietly confident it would receive enough support from the council. 

“It would be a fantastic outcome and I really hope the council supports it because it would prove The Rex truly is a community hub.” 

The new $105,000 plan will see the existing second floor transformed into the cinema. The space had previously been earmarked for a library, which will be moved to the bottom floor of the building. 

The theatre group will be given a 10-year license for the space at $36,000 a year, with the option of an additional 10 years in the future.  

The license will be for non-exclusive use of the space, meaning council and other community groups will be able to take advantage of the space when films are not being shown. 

Ms Lyons said the group was supportive of allowing the space to be used for multiple purposes. 

“We’re fine with (other groups using the cinema) and we would like to see use of the space maximised.” 

The new proposal will see a reduction in capacity from 99 seats to between 70 and 80 seats. 

The cinema would also not require a temporary home during construction and would remain in its current location until the completion of the new facility. 

Hepburn Shire mayor Sebastian Klein said while the new plan fulfilled the desires of the theatre group, he held concerns about whether it shortchanged other aspects of The Rex development, including the library and public toilets. 

Retail space on the bottom floor will also be impacted by the change, including a social enterprise cafe. 

“There’s still some design issues which aren't yet resolved in regards to the size and location of the library and the public toilets,” Cr Klein said.  “We need to make sure that were getting it right and it’s not clear whether were putting the cart before the horse by giving the plan the go-ahead before we’ve confirmed the other details.”