Chilliwack Paramount supporters have until June

This poster is popping up in downtown Chilliwack store windows in support of saving the Paramount. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
This poster is popping up in downtown Chilliwack store windows in support of saving the Paramount.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

A retro photo of the Chilliwack Paramount is popping up on downtown shop windows.

It reads: "We support community efforts to preserve our landmark theatre."

More than 100 Chilliwack storefronts are sporting the photo of the Paramount's 1949 opening night.

Council will be issuing another request for proposals that could end up saving the old Paramount Theatre building from the wrecking ball.

The official closing date for the new RFP will be June 21.

"It's a 90-day window that comes with the stipulation that no city funds will be forthcoming for either the restoration or operation of the building," said Coun. Chuck Stam.

The terms are "pretty wide open," and he said he doesn't see it as being "too prescriptive."

Last month, Friends of the Chilliwack Paramount group successfully obtained the 90 days they asked for to come up with a business plan to stave off demolition.

With the new RFP process pushed to June 21, group members are still optimistic that a viable business plan can be in place by the deadline, said spokesperson Sam Waddington.

Ideas being explored include running the Paramount as a different type of theatre, screening film festivals and movies that would not compete with the new Galaxy Cinema.

The film company from New Brunswick, Hemmings House Pictures, is also keeping up to date with the story and will be including the Chilliwack landmark theatre in their upcoming documentary on endangered theatres in North America. The group just learned the CBC Radio One piece about the Paramount that aired on The Early Edition two weeks ago, will be aired nationally on the CBC radio show “In the Field” Tuesday March 27 and Sunday April 1.

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"They asked for time. We gave them time," said Stam. "Now I'm looking forward to seeing what that passion of the group will yield in terms of a re-use plan."

Although no one wants to see a building come down that has potential for re-use, as a careful "steward of tax dollars," Stam said he couldn't justify monthly bills to keep the dilapidated building empty.

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