March 04, 2016 - 4:30 PM
KELOWNA - Could the Paramount sign follow Forty Foot Fred into a farmers field?
The historic Paramount Theatre sign in downtown Kelowna enjoys only the protection of public opinion should the owner decide to do something entirely different with the downtown landmark.
The Landmark Cinemas theatre will be closing within the next two months.
“We don’t have a bylaw that says you can’t touch it, but that doesn’t mean the community doesn’t value it,” urban planning manager Terry Barton says. “There’s a lot of public sentiment for the sign. The public could put a lot of pressure on them to keep it looking the way it does.”
Barton says owner Ronmor Developments of Calgary has yet to make formal application to redevelop the theatre but has already acknowledged the special place the sign holds for many locals.
“They think this is a cool thing so I think they are motivated to keep it going,” Barton adds. “It’s a remnant of a bygone era. I think for a lot of people, it reminds them of Kelowna in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s like Flintstones, one of the last remaining memories of the past."
There was an enormous outpouring of sentiment for Forty-Foot Fred, the giant cutout sign from the former Flintstones-themed Bedrock City amusement park, when he was found lying in a farmer’s field last month.
Should Ronmor move ahead with plans for adaptive reuse of the site — essentially a gutting of the building while keeping the exterior — it would require an appearance before council for a form and character permit.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016