Dolphin Cinema site slated for redevelopment

The five-decade old Dolphin Cinemas
The five-decade old Dolphin Cinemas' days may be numbered now that the property owner is seeking rezoning to redevelop it into a mixed-use project.
— image credit: Mario Bartel/NewsLeader File

The Dolphin Cinema, which has served North Burnaby for five decades, could soon be demolished to make way for a new development.

The property at 4555 Hastings St. is the subject of a rezoning application which proposes to replace the movie theatre with a four-storey mixed-use development.

Under the Hastings Street Area Plan, to achieve the maximum permitted floor space, the project would have to comprise commercial space on the first two storeys, with residential on the top two floors, according to a city staff report.

The developer, Heights Entertainment, has proposed that instead of the second floor being used for commercial space, that it house 11 accessible rental units through a partnership with the Vancouver Resource Society.

The society, a non-profit organization that specializes in providing accessible housing for people with disabilities, would own the units and rent them to tenants who meet its eligibility criteria.

A Section 219 Covenant would be sought requiring that over the long term the 11 units continue to be used as accessible rental housing, the report said. The third and fourth floors would comprise market housing units.

A rezoning, as well as a minor amendment to the Hastings Street Area Plan, are required to allow the added housing on the second floor.

Meanwhile, the Dolphin Cinemas continues to operate until it's told otherwise.

"It's still in talks and right now we're continuing to run the business as usual," said theatre manager Nathan Ferguson on Monday.

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