Film scheme likely to get the flick

PORTABLE cinema equipment meant to bring movie magic to the region could be sold.

A portable inflatable screen, purchased by council in 2010 as a way to bring film to the whole community, particularly in the south where there is no cinema, has failed to gain popularity with the public.

Southern Downs Regional Council community services director Tony Minuti told councillors at this week's committee meeting that public use of the screen had been disappointing, mostly because of the exorbitant costs involved in hiring a movie to show publicly.

And even though council had, since December 2010, lowered the movie equipment rental fee paid by not-for-profit organisations to $100, it had only been used seven times. To finance the purchase of the equipment, $16,500 was taken from the budget earmarked for the aerodrome marketing plan, Wallangarra train sign, country week and a small business intenders program for youth.

Councillor Ross Bartley, who had previously criticised the purchase, yesterday asked Mr Minuti to consider selling it off.

"Can we get a report on what the potential resale value would be on the open market?" he said.

"I was concerned when we purchased it, whether we'd have the take-up. I think I've been proved right. We should sell it off."

Council has received an offer from Granite Belt Support Services for the equipment, which would see the group pay $50 a month for its use. However, Cr Bartley said he was concerned council would still be liable for cost of any repairs.

Councillor Neil Meiklejohn said he had used the projector and it worked well.

"It's just hard to communicate to people how good it can be," he said. "It's fantastic."

Councillor Denise Ingram said council had been considering a feasibility study into establishing a cinema in the region's south, and this had perhaps served that purpose.

"It's told us it's not overly practical," she said.

The issue will lie until council hears more information on the gear's resale potential and its possible use by the community group.

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