Friday 3 December 2010

New cinema a star attraction


by Mat Churchill

Amalgamated Holdings, parent company of Rydges Sabaya is proposing to erect a new outdoor cinema to bring latest release movies to Port Douglas in what could be a star attraction for locals as well as visitors.

The cinema will screen two movies per night with kids and family films from 6pm, and mature audience movies from 8.30pm to comply with Port Douglas' notorious noise restrictions.

The productions on show will be the latest releases which were previously only available to people willing to make the trip to Cairns. The movies will be distributed thanks to a possible affiliation with Birch Carroll Coyle Cinemas.

Rydges Sabaya division manager, Shannon Exelby, said the cinema would operate during the high tourist season, and would be dismantled as visitor numbers dwindle.

"We'd like to have it up and running by next year's peak period. It'll be open to the public and our guests, and we'd like to think it would be well supported by the community."

Mr Exelby said that while there is an opportunity for people to express their concerns about the proposed cinema, he hopes it will be a popular addition to the town entertainment offerings.

"We think it will be a good asset for the community and we're quietly confident it will get approved," he said. "We've got the approval sign out the front and we'll work through the pros and cons and take them into account."

Mr Exelby added that Rydges Sabaya may also offer an outdoor dining experience and bar to compliment the experience.

This isn't Rydges first foray into cinema. A similar set up was popular among locals, but screened its final film around seven years ago.

Long time local, Josh McConnell remembers the old cinema fondly. "It was a relaxing outdoor environment with a great tropical feel. It was sorely missed when it closed. I think it's a much needed thing from a local perspective but great for tourists to have another option."

Submissions and comments regarding the cinema are open until 17 December and can be made via the Cairns Regional Council's website.