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New Burnaby movie theatre inches closer with liquor licence application

Cineplex nearing completion of North Burnaby VIP theatre
Photo courtesy Cineplex

Movie theatres are still closed across Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but when they do reopen a new set of screens could be opening along with them in Burnaby.

Cineplex was in the middle of building a new five-screen VIP theatre at the Amazing Brentwood when the pandemic hit. Cineplex told the NOW earlier this year that work was continuing on the theatre.

Now Cineplex has applied for a liquor licence for the VIP theatre, which is an adult-only concept with fancier food options and alcohol. Once opened, it will be located directly below Cineplex’s Rec Room entertainment complex, which is due to open at some point in 2021.

 “The applicant proposes to locate a liquor primary establishment on the subject site,” reads a city staff report. “Specifically, the proposed establishment is a Cineplex movie theatre complex which would accommodate, as an added amenity for adults who have purchased a ticket, the serving of alcohol during licensed hours (i.e. VIP cinemas for adults 19 years of age or older) … The proposed facility includes a lobby, concession area, five movie theatres, a lounge/dining area, and an outdoor terrace. The permitted licensed person capacity (including staff) would be 466.”

Proposed hours of liquor service are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday to Friday, and 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, the report said. Use of the outdoor terrace area would be required to cease at midnight, seven days a week.

The staff report recommends the licence be approved by city council.

The head of Cineplex Inc. recently called on federal and provincial leaders to draft up a better plan to support Canada’s hobbled movie exhibitors.

While most of the country’s theatres remain closed under COVID-19 restrictions, Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob says it’s time health officials across the provinces agree to “be consistent and move forward" as summer movie season gets underway this month.

Outside Canada, theatre marquees have been turning on across some of the biggest markets, with U.S. theatres open for business under varying rules by state.

Much of the United Kingdom has restarted its cinemas, while projectors began whirring again in France with capacity restrictions.

"What we need to be able to do is open," Jacob said after Cineplex's annual meeting on May 19 in an interview that touched on the future of cinemas and his belief the federal government should offer financial support for the recovery of the industry.

  • With files from the Canadian Press