Highlands Cinemas

UPDATE JUNE 22, 2020

Photos By Trail Camera

Well it was a long winter, now it looks like it is going to be an even longer summer! For forty years highlands cinema’s has opened at the first of may, and closed on thanksgiving. A run of 5.5 months. We don’t just “turn out the lights on leaving” actually it takes 120 hours. The building is cleaned, boarded up, water taken out, ac units covered, flags come down, christmas lights go up, bamboo, artichokes, leaves removed, & stock shifted. Opening up also takes 120 hours. The cost to open for work, inspections, and servicing is $15,000.00 with minimal stock, but usually $30,000.00 with full stock. (we traditionally buy all the popcorn and oil in at once). That is what makes this year so troubling.

Over the last 40 years highland’s cinema’s, thru a lot of hard work went from a small 50 seat theatre, with a 8′ x 10′ lobby, to an 18,500 sq. Foot structure with 5 screens 550 seats & a 4,000 sq. ft. museum. I didn’t build a theatre in kinmount to get rich, that is for certain. I built it because i enjoyed it, the movies, the customers, the staff, the bear, all of it.

For the theatre to work, we need schools, camps, blockbuster movies, good staff, & rain to bring in the customers. This year there are no schools, or camps, our staff for the most part have found employment elsewhere, all the major movies are gone, there is also the concern many people will not feel comfortable in an indoor theatre at this time. The critical weeks of summer are now approaching and social distancing which is absolutely necessary, will reduce our seating to around 30%. that combined with the extra costs associated with covid-19 would make it impossible to make money this year or justify the cost of trying to open. Like many businesses we simply weren’t designed for covid-19, and at 73, i don’t want it either.

I did contact our mpp to see if they had any idea when indoors might be able to open and never heard back. I am busy cutting costs so we can get thru this year with no income, and hopefully be able to open under more favourable conditions next season. I made a call to our local councillor two months ago re help available in other municipalities for busineses which are closed, and never heard back. We are definitely not all in this together!

Meanwhile i have 42 cats to care for, so as usual donations are always welcome. The property is closed and a donations box is located at the gate. On the matter of covid-19 if the wet markets that spawned it had been closed after sars, like they should have been, none of us would be in this mess! If they remain open there is a good chance in the next decade they will spawn a new virus that is far more virulent and lethal, making covid-19 look like a minor inconvenience. If you are not happy with what is going on now, it is unlikely signing petitions on change .org will accomplish closing the markets, but if we all refuse to buy any products manufactured in these countries, by companies who’s only concern is profits, we can effect change. Something to think about.

Hopefully we can again see you at the movies in the spring of 2021, in the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy.


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