Cinema planned for Traralgon

A GOLD class cinema complex is on the cards at a vacant supermarket site in Traralgon’s town centre.

Traralgon developer Minster Constructions has applied to Latrobe City Council to develop a $20 million cinema compound, including a restaurant, motel and residential living apartments at the old Manny’s Market site, at the corner of Franklin and Grey streets.

The town can expect four movie theatres including one gold class cinema as part of a five-storey entertainment complex.

A restaurant, 21 residential living apartments, six office spaces and motel rooms have also been mooted.

Minster Constructions’ Jim Northe said he was optimistic the company would receive a planning permit to begin works.

However, an original plan for a multi-level retail, accommodation and parking development at the site fell through in 2011.

“We’re excited by the prospect of receiving a planning permit and developing what’s been a vacant site for quite a long time,” Mr Northe said.

“We think Traralgon is in need of a cinema and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”

Traralgon Community Development Association vice president Axella Johannesson welcomed the proposal, saying the organisation had campaigned for a Traralgon cinema for some time.

“We had been working with an independent operator and a builder, and at that time weren’t aware of Minster Constructions’ plans,” Ms Johannesson said.

“But however it happens, we just want to see it happen.”

She said a cinema was always at the top of people’s wish lists.

“And there are certainly a lot of people over the years who have said they wished something like a gold class cinema, which they have to go to Melbourne for, was in the Latrobe Valley,” she said.

The proposed motel and residential apartments also drew praise from TCDA.

“We don’t really have enough accommodation in the central business district area,” Ms Johannesson said

“There is currently only one motel in walking distance to the central business district and it would be of huge benefit to have accommodation that close.

“I’m so happy to have something to be going there, because it’s a prominent spot in Traralgon that has been vacant for so long and it deserves to have something exciting, new and aesthetically appealing.”

Morwell residents have voiced concern on social media about the proposal and the impact the cinema would have on the town’s economy.

“I don’t know how another cinema complex in the Latrobe Valley could possibly be feasible. I hope this does not see the demise of Mid Valley,” one resident wrote on TCDA’s Facebook page.

However, Advance Morwell treasurer Max Williamson said two cinemas operating in the Latrobe Valley could benefit movie goers and drive competition.

“Village Morwell might feel the impact but they may also step up and upgrade their facilities,” Mr Williamson said.

“We will have to wait and see how it all pans out but on the overall scheme of things having two quality theatre sites in the Valley would be a good thing.”

Roadshow Entertainment, which owns Village Cinemas, declined to comment on the proposal despite gold class being a trademarked term by the company.

Mr Northe said tenants still needed to be secured for the site once a planning permit was approved.

The application will be decided by Latrobe City Council no earlier than 11 February.