The Qualicum Beach Cinema Society held its first volunteer meeting on Nov. 5 after reaching a feasibility study fundraising goal of $30,000.
“It was a dark and stormy night and there would be many more to follow… so wouldn’t it be nice if we had a multi-use cinema in Qualicum Beach?” asked Jan Taggart, speaking to a packed room at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.
The Town of Qualicum Beach provided the final $7,500 donation the group needed in order to conduct a feasibility study that will determine how a cinema would best serve the community.
This brings the total sum raised by the group to $30,000 in less than six months. The society was awarded $7,500 by the RDN on May 16 and $15,000 from Coastal Community Credit Union’s Building Healthier Communities Fund on Oct. 1.
Taggart described the journey that the society has been on since their first presentation to the town in 2017. On display were some of the early renderings of the cinema and the site. Taggart referred to all the research the group has undertaken and where they are now – with full funding for a comprehensive feasibility study and a room full of enthusiastic volunteers.
Other speakers at the meeting included Qualicum Beach Coun. Adam Walker and Coun. Scott Harrison. Walker, who represents the arts and culture portfolio for the town, spoke of his experience doing exit interviews with high school students from Kwalikum Secondary.
He said he was struck by two things during the interviews.
“One – that they all intended to leave the Oceanside area and two – when asked what would have most improved their experience growing up here, their answer was ‘a movie theatre,’” said Walker.
Harrison spoke of the health benefits of a community cinema in an area with an elderly population, and the importance of giving people a way to connect with each other in the evening and be entertained.
He also referenced the social cost of isolation among seniors and how a community cinema could help reduce that.
Taggart mentioned the Star Cinema in Sidney and the Civic Theatre in Nelson, as well as community cinemas across Canada, the U.S., Europe and New Zealand.
“We see ourselves as part of a larger movement of successful community cinemas, growing in popularity,” said Taggart.
“Our key message to people at the moment, is that if you want a community cinema in Oceanside, please become a member of the society. The number of members we have is critical to our ability to attract funding.”
Memberships cost $10 and can be purchased online through the QB Cinema website or wherever you see a QB Cinema information table.
For more information about the QB Cinema Society, or to become a member, please visit their website at www.qbcinema.org or contact the society at email@example.com.