Waterville airport closure won’t impact drive-in theatre

Kirk Starratt
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Coldbrook Lions Kirk Longmire and Tim Jones at the drive-in theatre. - FILE

The Coldbrook Lions won’t have to worry about the closure of the Waterville airport impacting their drive-in movie theatre, says the county’s warden.

Club treasurer and Valley Drive-In project chairman Kirk Longmire said he went to Warden Diana Brothers to ask about the potential impact on the drive-in after discussions surrounding the closure of the neighbouring municipal airport intensified.

He said Brothers assured him verbally that the consultants who authored the province’s airport relocation study were specifically instructed to exclude the approximately 10 acres occupied by the drive-in. The theatre, which the Lions operate on land leased from the county, would be able to continue operating.

“We signed an extended lease with the municipality and spent a pile of money on the assumption we’d have a long-term lease to be there,” Longmire said.

While they don’t have this assurance in writing, Longmire said the Lions hold a 10-year lease for the property. The lease with the municipality was re-negotiated and extended after the Lions invested more than $100,000 in a new digital projector and a screen three years ago. Longmire said they wanted to extend the lease so they could finance the capital improvement project.


Land not necessary for Michelin expansion

The land identified as necessary for any potential expansion of the Michelin plant is at the western end of the airport property, Brothers said.

“I ensured that it was clear to both the province and Michelin that the lands occupied by the Valley Drive-In were not included in any Michelin expansion discussions,” Brothers said.

She added that she’s happy to request council provide the Coldbrook Lions with the municipality’s commitment, in writing, to preserving the drive-in property. Brothers plans to do this at the upcoming committee of the whole session.

“The Coldbrook Lions Club contributes greatly to the community and the Valley Drive-In puts a considerable amount of money back into the local economy,” Brothers said.

She said it’s “well past the time” that the lease agreement between the municipality and the Coldbrook Lions should be reviewed by both parties to ensure that the county is treating the club in the same manner that they deal with other community organizations that lease property from the municipality.

As part of this, Brothers will be seeking a commitment from council for the Coldbrook Lions to apply for a property tax exemption as a charitable organization. This could mean an annual saving of $3,400 for the club.

The Lions currently pay $7,500 a year in rent to the Waterville Airport Co-operative Limited to help subsidize the operation of the airport. Considering that the airport will close at the end of September and the Lions are a non-profit organization, Brothers said she would be seeking council approval to make the Lions’ use of the drive-in property in the future rent-free.

Organizations: Coldbrook Lions Club, Waterville Airport Co

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Recent comments

  • Ken Ward
    June 18, 2014 - 07:20

    Serge and Brenda, it must take a lot of energy to have so much hate. Our Kings County Council is doing a fantastic job at representing ALL of Kings County citizens and not bending to special interest groups, I applaude them because it's not an easy job to stand up for what's right for ALL of Kings County citizens.

  • Serge Duguay
    June 16, 2014 - 13:17

    I agree with Brenda...and to the operators of the drive-in, the airport HAS a lease for the land they operate on that does not expire anytime soon, yet the municipality still elected to break that lease...and all this was done behind close door...so don't wave your arm in the air and claim all is going to be good. Also, beware of "verbal" contracts from council, they are worth nothing...the airport have written and signed agreements that council has deemed invalid. Don't be afraid to ask those questions...

  • Brenda Wheeler
    June 16, 2014 - 07:29

    I don't believe anything these council members say. And there should be a question mark at the end of the article's title. The Register/Advertiser is giving Brothers, Raven and others credibility and respect they don't deserve

    • john ross
      June 16, 2014 - 11:32

      Oh c'mon Brenda,just because everything the council has done up till now has been completely incompetent,irresponsible and anti-resident doesn't mean that sometime in the far,far future they may not do something right.On second thought.....maybe they are completely useless and maybe you are right.

    • Agreed
      June 16, 2014 - 16:44

      Wait...Didn't you support this council in the comments of another article John? And disagree with my comment about voting members out? Now you say they are completely useless? With voters like this we can be sure change is just on the horizon... I'm with Brenda on this one!

    • agreed
      June 16, 2014 - 16:46

      agree with you both...any "verbal" statement from any of the councillors, especially brothers,bishop and raven is no guarantee of anything...GET IT IN WRITING for what its worth!!!

    • john ross
      June 17, 2014 - 11:14

      Agreed, I supported a few members of the council,the ones that "think outside the box".But as for council as a whole,the always majority voting cliques............still useless. Besides,who's going to be "voting members out"?...the other councillors?Same as PM Harper and his majority voting opposition members out.