NDG's Empress Theatre to reopen

4 movie theatres planned, bank, restaurant

It now looks like the former Cinema V repertory cinema (also known as the EmpressTheatre) will re-open soon as Cinema NDG. But the Cote-des-

John Symon

Special Neiges--Notre Dame de Grace (CDN--NDG) borough council meeting where this was voted on was interrupted by catcalls of "lies," "biased," and by charges of breach of confidentiality.The conflict pits two groups against each other with conflicting visions of how to best bring new life to the old building. Cinema NDG will redevelop the Empress Theatre contingent on the group finalizing its $12 million project's financial plan by December 31.The proposal calls for building four,cuttingedge movie theatres (with about 500 seats), together with a caisse populaire (credit union) and a restaurant. The group behind this successful bid has already developed the East End Cinema Beaubien, a neighbourhood movie theatre. The council vote saw Peter McQueen (NDG), the sole opposition councillor, voting against the project while borough mayor Michael Apple-

Photo: ©John Symon "I am going to turn this over to Montreal's legal department," commented Mayor Applebaum

baum and his Union Montreal majority councillors voted in favour.There was evidently strong opposition to the Cinema NDG project from members of the Friends of the Empress group which had submitted a competing and unsuccessful $6.7 million bid to redevelop the same property. Councillor Marvin Rotrand (Snowdon) noted that an independent jury recommended the Cinema NDG bid over the Empress bid.At this point, The Times heard the Empress group whisper that four of the seven jury members were municipal employees who report to Applebaum. While the Empress group shouted out that Applebaum and his council- lors were lying, Applebaum suggested that McQueen had leaked confidential information about the Cinema NDG bid. "I am going to turn this over to Montreal's legal department," commented Applebaum about McQueen's behaviour. "Elected officials are not supposed to leak confidential documents." Mc- Queen, however, looked and sounded defiant while voting against the proposal. "I am voting for transparency, not secrecy," McQueen declared.

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