News Local

Campbellford theatre renovations complete

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

The Aron Theatre in Campbellford during the progress of its recent facelift. It is owned and operated by a co-op of area individuals. Submitted photo

The Aron Theatre in Campbellford during the progress of its recent facelift. It is owned and operated by a co-op of area individuals. Submitted photo

CAMPBELLFORD -- A celebration of major renovations at the co-operative owned-and-operated Aron Theatre in Campbellford takes place this Saturday.

The 1947 building first began life as a movie house when it screened The Little Giant on Nov. 15 of that year featuring Abbott and Costello, says its founding president, Russ Christianson.

An open house at the movie house is slated to start at 1 p.m. on Oct. 28.

"It's been eight years since our first community meeting on Nov. 18, 2009 to save the theatre from closing, and the Aron Theatre Co-op has come a long way." Christianson said in an interview.

The renovations of the theatre over the past few months were very necessary, especially for the 30+ year-old roof that was leaking water into the back stage area during "significant rain storms or ice dams in winter," he said. "We literally caught (the water) with carefully placed buckets."

Fundraising, and in particularly an Ontario 150 Capital $67,200 grant, made the roof replacement possible. It is a "green" roof.

"It took about three weeks to remove the old roofing material (tar and pebble), insulate the roof and install a new moisture barrier, add one inch of soil and (install) the green roof sod with seven varieties of perennial grasses. A drip irrigation system has also been installed.

"A local engineering firm approved the green roof addition to the old building," Christianson explained.

Smart Green Technologies did the work at cost to support the co-op project and said it is the first commercial building in Northumberland County with this kind of green roof.

There were other upgrades to the theatre as part of the renovations assisted with support from a variety of sources.

"This summer and fall, the co-op completed extensive renovations to the 1947 building, including installing new single-use washrooms, refurbishing the façade, adding metal siding to the walls and a new back door, and replacing the old pea gravel and tar roof with a green roof," states a media release. "In total, the renovation cost $95,000, with $67,200 from Ontario150 Capital grant, $5,900 from the Municipality of Trent Hills and $4,000 from the Campbellford/Seymour Community Foundation. These grants were topped up by $18,000 from the Aron Theatre's reserves and the 50/50 roof fundraiser it has been operating for over a year."

Fundraising is continuing.

The Ontario150 Capital grant paid for 75 per cent of the conventional roof, and the Aron Theatre is paying for the additional cost of the green roof. There will be other fundraisers held over the course of the coming year. To find more information about that, and all of the events taking place at the theatre, please visit: www.arontheatre.com, the release states.

"Fundraising for the green roof is ongoing with an e-waste event and 50/50 draw, and we are asking people to buy Aron Theatre Co-op memberships. They expire on May 1 each year, so right now, they are half price, $10 for an individual and $20 for a family," Christianson stated in the release.

vmacdonald@postmedia.com