Paramount proposal at next Chilliwack council meeting

Friends of the Chilliwack Paramount will hear the fate of the old downtown building on Aug. 21. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE
Friends of the Chilliwack Paramount will hear the fate of the old downtown building on Aug. 21.

Friends of the Chilliwack Paramount are getting ready to head to council chambers at Chilliwack City Hall to learn the fate of the downtown landmark.

The group was notified that a staff report is ready to go in response to their proposal to turn the building into a repertory theatre to screen non-mainstream films in a non-for-profit model.

The report will be tucked into Friday's agenda for the Tuesday city council meeting, said group spokesperson Laura Reid.

"We would love to see a strong show of support at the meeting from Chilliwack residents on Tuesday who don't want to see this historic landmark demolished," she said.

Over the summer months the group has received a fair amount of correspondence from supporters who are wondering what the status of the threatened building is, said Reid.

"We have no idea what is coming. We can't tell which way the wind is blowing," she said about the imminent response to their proposal in the city's RFP process.

The 1949 movie theatre building is not a designated heritage site but it was listed on City of Chilliwack's heritage inventory.

The building was added to the "Top 10 Endangered places" list in June by the Heritage Canada Foundation based on its historical significance, urgency of the situation and the high level of community support.

The group has collected more than $20,000 in cash pledges from the public and another $120,000 in pledged materials and services in kind.

"I believe we have enough financial support to start the renovations almost immediately," Reid said.

An estimated $300,000 in repairs would have to be undertaken to get the dilapidated building up to code.

"We would start with the roof to keep the building dry over the winter," Reid added. "That would be our plan if we were given the green light to go ahead."

Save the Chilliwack Paramount group submitted its business proposal to the city on June 21.

The council meeting at city hall starts at 3 p.m. on Aug. 21 and then reconvenes at 7 p.m.


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