Hollywood Cinema open despite engineer report
Hills and Harbour
Sumner's Hollywood Cinema is still open for business, despite the building being recently deemed unsafe.
A detailed engineering evaluation report was performed on the city's last suburban cinema earlier this month, which called for urgent restrengthening work.
The evaluation prompted business owners Lang and Maureen Masters to swiftly close the cinema's doors, but they have since reopened under confusion as to when the work will take place.
Maureen Masters said the cinema had briefly closed on Friday, September 6 when news of the engineer's report reached the media, but they resumed operating that weekend.
They closed again the following Monday as discussions around what would happen took place, and have been trading since.
She said they had been trying to contact both the Christchurch City Council and the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), but could not find anyone to speak with about what exactly the report meant, and when the work needed to be done.
"We haven't been able to speak to them ourselves," Masters said.
"We're hoping we'll be able to keep going this week and the decision will be made - we know we've got to close at some stage.
"We'll just have to wait and see, but we really don't know."
Building owner Nigel Warnes said he was still waiting to speak with his insurance company to decide their course of action.
He said it was "all up in the air at the moment".
"It stood there like a rock through all the major earthquakes. That doesn't mean to say it will keep standing but I would have thought a lot of others would go down before it goes down."
The impending steel restructuring work has claimed its first casualty in the postponement of the 2013 Italian Film Festival, which was to be held at the cinema.
A Cera spokesman said they were waiting for further information from the owner's engineers, and have not yet put a notice on the building to prohibit access.
The cinema was the only suburban cinema still standing and running in the city after 70 years in business.
It opened in 1938 as a single cinema, had a second added in 1973 and the third in 1999.
At 19, Masters became the youngest film distributor in New Zealand and was on his way to run the country's largest chain of independent cinemas, with seven Christchurch cinemas at the peak of his empire in 1981.
It has welcomed many national and international film festivals over the years.
- © Fairfax NZ News