Dear Editor,

So let me get this straight… before council ever got involved in the Rex debacle this community had a successful, vibrant cinema. Kids had a holiday program of films. Friends met for a meal nearby and a film shared… a simple, low cost outing. We had the Blues Brothers theme night that involved many in the community and was laughter shared. The Rex was privately owned. It wasn’t an easy partnership to manage but we had a cinema.

This community raised $140,000 from donations and grants from philanthropic organisations to build and fit out the cinema in 2013. The Helen McPherson fund donated $23k on the understanding that a cinema would provide this community with a cultural and creative asset to bring people together & improve mental health outcomes. Council gave us a $2,000 grant. But the cinema we had has now been reduced to rubble and the shell of a new cinema has now been abandoned.

Before council ever got involved we had a cinema. Now the community-built cinema, successfully run by community volunteers, has disappeared. This is an appalling mismanagement of a community facility by Hepburn Shire Council and a broken promise to the community to rebuild the theatre. The matter should be referred to the appropriate investigations and compliance inspectorate/ombudsman.

Nora Vitins