Viability of cinema questioned

A community cinema in Mosgiel would be unlikely to enjoy the sustained patronage needed to be viable over the longer term, the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman says.

"The honeymoon period for these are great,'' chairman Bill Feather said.

"Everyone gets in behind it [initially] but it's turning up every second day or whatever the screening schedule is and being there and doing it.''

Mr Feather was responding to the idea proposed by Dunedin South MP Clare Curran for a community cinema in Mosgiel at the last Mosgiel Resource Group meeting on April 28.

The idea had been previously discussed in the community but had never "picked up any traction'', he said.

Somebody with a commercial interest in providing movies would need to get behind it.

The Coronation Hall, which Ms Curran suggested as a cinema venue, lacked the necessary equipment, he said.

Coronation Hall Trust chairman Mark Willis said he had previously discussed the idea with Ms Curran.

"It certainly has been raised and I had a conversation with Clare probably 18 months ago.''

The trust could assist in the operation of the cinema but needed somebody to drive it, Mr Willis said.

"It's really the logistics of getting the community around it and getting somebody to drive it.''

"We're the vehicle, we need a driver.''

The project would need to be community-funded as it would not be viable as a commercial proposition, Mr Willis said.

"If you've got a for-profit company doing it, I just don't think it would justify it, so it would be a not-for-profit or a team of volunteers to put it through and look for funding.''

Mosgiel Business Association committee member Kristy Compton said the cinema was a great idea but would need to be commercially viable.

"Every time there has been talk about this that's really what you come up against because it has to be financially viable.

"It would be a matter of working out a business plan on how it would work.''

The Coronation Hall was a great community asset that was underutilised, Mrs Compton said.

Ms Curran told the Taieri Times last week there was a lack of recreational activities in Mosgiel for young people and a cinema could help to address that gap.

Mr Feather disputed this contention.

"You've only got to look at the number of sports clubs that exist on the Taieri.

"Those sorts of statements. I don't think people have really thought too much about what they're saying.

"It probably comes back to the individual will of our youth today. Do they want to be involved in sport or do they not?''

Besides sports clubs, Mr Feather also cited Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and tramping clubs as potential recreational avenues for young people.

joshua.riddiford@thestar.co.nz

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