Queanbeyan cinema approved by QPRC despite carpark concerns

An artists impression of the new Queanbeyan Cinema above Kmart. Photo: Supplied
An artists impression of the new Queanbeyan Cinema above Kmart. Photo: Supplied

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has approved a development application to build a nine-screen cinema in the CBD.

The DA came before council on Wednesday night and was carried unanimously.

Much of the discussion around the cinema centred on the issue of carparking.

The council ultimately decided the developer would not have to add more parking spaces as the site could not accommodate them and the developer's fee for carparking normally associated with such an application was waived.

The developer could have been forced to pay as much as $1 million for carparking to get the council’s approval.

The motion was put forward by the chair, Mayor Tim Overall, which he described as unusual. He said he did so on this occasion due to his long advocacy for a cinema for Queanbeyan.

Cr Overall adjourned the meeting for five minutes as the motion he had drafted was given to councillors to consider.

The motion provided reasons for why the carpark contribution should be waived including: the carparking options within walking distance of the cinema site, the primary operating hours being the opposite to surrounding businesses and the expected boost to the CBD the development would bring.

The council also allowed the cinema to operate 10 to 15 times per year between midnight and 3am for special blockbuster movie screenings. The motion included several other planning aspects the developer would have to meet to satisfy the council.

After putting his motion forward Cr Overall provided some of the history of cinemas in Queanbeyan and highlighted some of the failed attempts to get one built in the past.

He said it was something the city clearly wanted, a claim he said was proven by several community surveys.

He described his motion as “sound” and a “compromise” that achieved the ultimate goal of a cinema for Queanbeyan.

Cr Trudy Taylor made the recommendation that wider parent parking spaces be included as one of the primary groups visiting the cinema would be young families.

The cinema will have nine theatres with a total capacity of 1315 patrons, a licensed bar, a lounge area and an arcade.

The cinema, operated by United Cinemas, will be located at 30 Morisset Street, housed above Kmart, opposite Riverside Plaza.

Cr Peter Marshall, while supportive of the cinema, rejected the manner in which the mayor stopped the meeting to put forward his motion to councillors.

“The mayor does not have the power to adjourn a council meeting,” Cr Marshall said.

“So that was an interesting little experiment there and one I don’t want to see repeated.”

Cr Overall responded by saying he provided the motion to councillors during the meeting, and not before, because he wanted to hear from the public forum speakers in case the motion required amending.