There is light at the end of the tunnel for residents of Queanbeyan and Gungahlin, who have been crying out for a cinema complex in their respective communities.
Queanbeyan will be the first cab off the rank with demolition already started in anticipation of a new United Cinemas complex.
United Cinemas have advised Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) that “they’ve finished the internal demolition of the floor above Kmart where the cinema is going”.
“Although Council isn’t involved in the private development of the cinema beyond approving the Development Application (DA), we know it is highly anticipated by the community so we touch base with the developer occasionally to see how things are coming along,” QPRC Mayor Tim Overall said.
“We believe they are hoping to begin construction in the new year with the aim of opening in early 2021, if all goes to plan.”
According to the DA, which was approved in March 2018, the cinema will incorporate a nine-screen cinema complex with a total seating capacity of 1,315 patrons, licensed bar, lounge area and arcade.
“I’ve been a long-time advocate for a local cinema,” Mayor Overall said. “A few years ago, Council went a fair way down the path of looking into potentially developing a cinema ourselves or in partnership with a cinema operator. It’s very pleasing to see that a private developer has seen the enormous potential this much-needed facility offers our city and region and we look forward to seeing it up and running.”
United Cinemas will also be developing a cinema complex for Gungahlin and, according to United founder, Roy Mustaca, a DA was expected to be ready to lodge this week.
“They will take some time to build,” Mr Mustaca said. “We’ve got to wait for the DA and once that happens it will be about 12 months building.”
He said they are looking forward to bringing United Cinemas to the ACT and region and that they often look to build in developing areas “for families to come and enjoy”.
“We started looking at areas where people didn’t have cinemas,” he said, acknowledging when they built a development in Craigieburn, Victoria “there was nothing there”.
“Everyone was saying how lovely it would be to have something there so we built the best cinema in the world and the people are so happy,” Mr Mustaca said.
“We don’t mind going to areas where it is needed. Giving a service and giving back to the community is very important to us.”
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