A drive-in movie theatre just outside Lumsden, Sask., says they are being forced to close down due to a ruling from the rural municipality.
In a Facebook post, Moonlight Movies Drive-In says they are ceasing operations after the RM of Lumsden reportedly said their business creates a traffic safety concern along Highway 20 and the park’s access road. Moonlight Movies calls the move “ridiculously unfair” in their post.
The theatre is located at Outer Edge Adventure Park, just off Highway 20 between the towns of Lumsden and Craven, about a 25-minute drive north of Regina.
According to the theatre, the RM council made their decision at its Aug. 22 meeting. In a press release, the RM says the theatre was operating without a development permit. Written and verbal comments of concern were also received by the RM.
Theatre management said they average about 50 cars per show. These vehicles would arrive upwards of two hours before a movie started, and only really caused any congestion when a movie finished showing.
“Highway 20 is the same highway that you take to go to Craven. You know, the one that’s backed up with campers for 10 miles. It’s kind of weird they think it’s a danger for a tiny little drive-in theatre. We don’t really buy that story,” Moonlight Movies owner Shawn Barrett said.
“Regarding the access road to get here, I don’t know if anyone has been to a farm auction, but have you ever seen hundreds and hundreds of vehicles going to a farm auction on these little roads? Honestly, why’re not buying it. Something’s going on – we don’t understand what – but these excuses don’t make sense when held up to common sense.”
The post said the theatre is not aware of any traffic complaints from neighbouring properties. The RM said neighbours voiced their comments and concerns about the theatre at the Aug. 22 council meeting.
Barrett said Moonlight Movies hasn’t had any correspondence with the RM, and all of that has gone through Outer Edge, the land owner.
Barrett added he is disappointed there was no remedy suggested in the RM’s letter to Outer Edge that could have seen the theatre continue.
“Usually for something that’s this popular, that the community loves, there’s ways you can make it work. Maybe we have to change how we do things, but nothing was offered,” Barrett said.
Moonlight Movies is calling on supporters to contact the RM about the decision. Its post has been shared over two thousand times since it was posted around noon on Tuesday.
Before moving to the adventure park, Moonlight Movies would show movies in the town of Lumsden, with traffic also moving along Highway 20.
The RM’s press release said Outer Edge was encouraged to apply to a discretionary zoning application, as the theatre did not meet the area’s zoning rules. Council ultimately decided to deny the request, saying council does not take these decisions lightly.”
On Monday afternoon, Outer Edge Adventure Park posted the letter they received from the RM, detailing the theatre’s denial and other requirements for their business.
The park’s post says they did not wait for RM approval to begin running the drive-in theatre on their property. They also raised issues about being ordered to commission a “costly” geotechnical report and traffic impact analysis, wondering why this wasn’t required when they opened in 2017.
WATCH (February 2017): Drive-in movie theatre coming to Lumsden, Sask.