The Lakes Film Appreciation Society (LFAS) has received $100,000 from the Burns Lake Community Forest to help with repair costs for the Beacon Theatre.
“We’re very excited,” as John Illes, a volunteer with LFAS told Lakes District News.
“It’ll let us go ahead with the first winter phase of repairs which is the concrete work on the front of the theatre,” said Illes, adding that the front sidewalk needs to be leveled out because it rises slightly above the wall
The 69-year-old building needs several major repairs which are estimated to cost $424,000 in total. That breaks down to $174,000 for the walls and $250,000 for a new roof.
With the donation from Comfor and other organizations and fundraising efforts LFAS has now reached about three-quarters of the total.
The outlook wasn’t as bright in the spring, when LFAS was worried that the theatre might not last another year unless significant progress was made with funding and repairs.
“We’ll make it through. The three structural walls we did gave us another year,” Illes said.
LFAS is also thinking of building an Art Deco-style frontage to the theatre, like the one it had in the 1950s.
“But there’s only one person in Smithers who can do that,” Illes said.
For the final quarter of its funding goal, the society is waiting for responses to grant applications it sent out. LFAS applied to Four Rivers Co-op, the Rotary Club of Burns Lake and to the provincial Gaming Grants.
It also plans to hold a fundraising event in February of next year for the Beacon’s 70th anniversary.
If all goes well, the society hopes the frontal structural repairs can begin in late November and wrap up by May. The roof would be replaced in the summer and the siding would be the last part, which Illes hopes can be completed by next Christmas.