A big screen in Gander? Council says study shows cinema could make money

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A big screen in Gander? Council says study shows cinema could make money

A recently completed feasibility study says there's a financial case for a movie theatre in Gander. 

The town council commissioned the study after its master recreation plan showed people wanted a theatre.

"Economic development has been looking at this for a long time," said Coun. Sarah McBreairty, adding the town once had a movie theatre but it closed a number of years ago.

"People were used to going to the movies and they wanted to continue going to the movies."

The public survey done for the recreation plan described a movie theatre as "the most needed indoor facility." 

McBreairty said the feasibility study supports the cause.

"It is feasible to do but it has to take a large capital cost up front obviously," she said. "Once the capital is done and the thing is actually built there's enough people here to sustain it."

Taxpayers paid $16,000 for the study, with another $5,000 coming from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.  

Up to the private sector

McBreairty said council commissioned the study to attract interest from private businesses to build the theatre. "To put this down and get the raw figures to let them know this can work if they were to it."

She said council will not build a movie theatre on its own. 

"No, and that was the struggle ... The challenge is the people want this to exist in Gander so how do we prove that there is a business case for doing so?"

McBreairty said the town is also looking at developing a second ice rink surface to increase space for trade shows that want to visit Gander. 

"It's a big economic boom for the town when these big trade shows and conferences do come to town," she said.