Progress for Cobram’s new cinema is beginning to gather momentum again, according to Cobram Cinema Community Inc secretary-treasurer Rob Morey.
Mr Morey said plans for the cinema were close to completion and would then have to be approved by Freemasons Victoria.
Once they are approved, a building permit will be sought.
It comes after a 45-year lease was signed in August by Freemason grandmaster Don Reynolds, who has agreed to share the Cobram Masonic Lodge’s building space with the cinema free of charge.
So far, $340000 has been committed to the project.
Mr Morey said the group needed to raise another $250000, which he admitted ‘‘sounds difficult to do’’, but he was confident the group would get there.
He called on local businesses to dig into their pockets and support the project.
The group is starting a fundraising drive with the first stage focused on local business.
‘‘It has really got to the stage now where it is time for our community to financially ensure that the cinema project reaches fruition,’’ Mr Morey said.
‘‘We are pretty fortunate that the Cobram Apex Club has taken on the cinema as their major project and most of the other service clubs have generously supported the project as well.’’
Mr Morey said it was important to remember the project was initiated to give young people in Cobram more social opportunities.
‘‘It started from a youth forum in 2012 and is a great credit to our young people and indeed the whole community for their wonderful support and belief in the cinema project,’’ Mr Morey said.
‘‘We would encourage all people at this early stage to support us financially and to remind the general public that they can make a great difference to this important project.’’
Mr Morey said he had been taken aback by the response of the community.
‘‘I have to say, it has been quite overwhelming,’’ he said.
‘‘To see a project which the whole community can embrace and to be a small part of it is pretty special.’’
It is expected the cinema will have a screening room with 80 seats and another with 60 seats.