Penmar ready for Fall opening

Work continues to progress on the re-vamped downtown Penmar cinema on Martin St. which plans to screen movies this fall.

Members of the Penmar Community Arts Society stand outside of what will be known as the Valley First Community Arts Centre on Martin Street. From left is president Jim Morrison

Work continues to progress on the re-vamped downtown Penmar cinema on Martin St. which plans to screen movies this fall.

Board member Kerri Milton said she’s pleased with the progression of the project, from its initial conceptual meeting in October 2012 all the way to the hiring of a general manager in June 2014, followed by the start of construction in July.

Two smaller theatres are scheduled to open in late fall and the main theatre in early 2015.

“Everything is on track,” said Milton. “The seats are going to be arriving from California in the next couple of weeks, the concession’s been designed and the equipment’s been ordered.”

She said there was a significant amount of repair work that was required and that included the removal of some asbestos that was found in the building.

“When we were ripping down that main wall between what used to be Theatres One and Two. We did find asbestos in there, so the hazmat clean up took an extra week that we hadn’t anticipated,” said Milton.

In conjunction with the reconstruction of what will be called the Valley First Community Arts Centre, were elections to the Penmar Community Arts Society.

At its first board meeting, the following people were elected as executives for the upcoming year: Jim Morrison (president), Kerri Milton (secretary) and Murray Swales (treasurer).

Serving two-year terms are founding members Morrison, Milton and Jennifer Vincent, with one-year terms given to founding member Murray Swales and first-year member Tarik Sayeed.

Milton said the kinds of movies that are going to be screened will be documentaries and foreign films as well as lower-priced, second-run showings of blockbuster films. There is also the capability to hold a variety of presentations at the theatres.

When the main theatre opens it will also be used for live music and live performances. The project will see an expanded seating capacity for the main theatre of up to 750 seats, and an addition that will include a larger lobby, new washrooms, boardroom/meeting rooms and black box theatre.

To assist with costs, the society has been fundraising, and so far, response from the community has been very good, said Milton.

Anyone interested in helping out can do so by making a donation or by contributing $100 to sponsor a seat in the theatre. Those who contribute can choose to have their name engraved on the back of a seat.

The society, in partnership with the Downtown Penticton Association, is presenting Valley First Movies in the Park free at Gyro Park on Friday, Sept. 19.

The featured showing for Sept. 5 was Frozen which had about 800 people show up to watch.

On Sept. 19 they will present a double bill with The Lego Movie and The Princess Bride.

There will be live entertainment starting at 7 p.m. with the movies starting at about 7:30 p.m.

A 50/50 draw is happening at both movie nights with the proceeds benefiting both the society and Summerland Montessori School.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the society, volunteering for an event or making a donation can visit or call 250-488-9259.