Facility upgrades and other fixes are coming to the Valley Drive-In after rain in January created a miniature lake of water and flooded out the property.
Valley Drive-In co-chair and Coldbrook and District Lions Club member Kirk Longmire says the club will oversee a major renovation of the drive-in’s canteen space, where its previous fibreboard-constructed space was gutted by the flood.
Longmire says renovating had been on the club’s agenda for a few years, but that as a non-profit club, it was reluctant to fund such things over supporting local causes.
“We’ve known we needed renos for a long time, but we put them off – it always made more sense to help with someone’s gas bill, or something else, instead – but this has forced us to say ‘listen, this is now the time,’” says Longmire.
“We cannot continue to operate unless we fix these problems.”
Longmire says the damage was already bad but became even worse when there was a flash freeze followed by the rain, leaving everything iced over. He says an old drainage system had been flagged as water would remain after rain during summer months, but replacing it had not been planned before the flood.
“It’s one of those things that you don’t fix until you have to fix it. But now we are replacing these things, and we’re excited for what that means for the drive-in,” says Longmire.
The Municipality of the County of Kings owns the property and will fund repairs to the drainage system, road fixes and will replace ruined electrical systems.
The service club will pay for the canteen renovation and repairs to the facility’s projection room, which was also ruined. The project is not being financed through insurance.
Longmire says the drive-in is slated to open on its usual date in May, when this year the public will be able to see the newly-designed and built canteen space and other changes.
“The outside building will look the same, but the inside will be totally upgraded with new cabinetry and a new layout,” he says.
The community has also expressed happiness that the business plans to open on its regular May weekend, along with excitement at the renovations.
Drive-in regular and Dartmouth resident Amy Francis says when she heard about the renovations, she felt relief the facility would be up and running again. She says she is a regular because the experience feels like a throwback.
“The most enjoyable thing about the Drive-in is the nostalgia of times gone by and the comfort of watching a movie on the big screen in your own vehicle. You can adjust the volume however loud or quiet you want it. And those canteen prices can’t be beat,” she says.
Leah Rissesco of Vaughan says she too was glad to hear of the news because it’s an experience she enjoys with her family.
“Our favourite part of the whole experience is being able to comment on the movies without disturbing others. The kids like being able to run around until the movie starts. The renos are really exciting – a freshen up so to speak,” she says.
For more information on the upcoming season, visit the Valley Drive-In website at https://www.valleydrivein.com/.