The location of the land purchase that has been tentatively agreed to by the town of Qualicum Beach. (Photo submitted by the town of Qualicum Beach)

Cinema society concerned about bus garage property sale in Qualicum Beach

Group planned on commissioning a feasibility study for multi-use cinema

The Qualicum Beach Cinema Society is expressing concerns over the proposed sale and development of the former bus garage and Qualicum Commons site in Qualicum Beach.

The group’s board of directors shared their concerns in a letter addressed to Qualicum Beach’s mayor and council that was also shared with The NEWS.

The letter asks for clarification about the proposed sale of the property on Fern Road and Memorial Avenue, with specific concerns that the sale to Naked Naturals for a grocery store and residential units would take up all of the Memorial Avenue frontage.

The group had planned on commissioning a feasibility study for a multi-use cinema to begin at the end of February.

READ MORE: Time running out for public to share thoughts on ‘bus garage’ property sale in Qualicum Beach

“It was the preference of the QB Cinema Society that the cinema, plus wine bar and cafe, have some frontage along Memorial Avenue for visibility and to provide something of social and cultural significance at the gateway to Qualicum Beach,” reads the letter.

“We were interested in working with other groups to fit the cinema in around a proposed green space or other developments of significance to the community.”

The letter includes a response from the town’s chief administrative officer, Daniel Sailland, in regards to the council’s support for the cinema society. The society had requested 10,000 square feet of land in the town-owned land that’s up for sale.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach cinema group reaches fundraising goal

“We were not carving out a specific 10,000 square feet and saying ‘right here.’ What we were doing was keeping it in a position where we were able to support the concept but then also work toward a comprehensive site plan where that block of 10,000 square feet could move anywhere within the plan,” reads Sailland’s reply.

The society says the development is an exciting time for Qualicum Beach and refers to Naked Naturals as a cherished business in the community, but are concerned that the business’ current plan could bring their project to a halt.

“The cinema society has received overwhelming support for our vision of a multi-use cinema which would provide a distinctive first impression of Qualicum Beach as a hub of culture and entertainment.

The sale of the entire Memorial Avenue frontage of the Old Bus Garage property for retail and residential use, limits that opportunity,” reads the letter.

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