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Column: Who's to blame?

There it was – another posting from a long-time business in Airdrie announcing the shutting of their doors. The Roxy Theatre, Airdrie’s original and only movie theatre, was officially closing.
Airdrie opinion

There it was – another posting from a long-time business in Airdrie announcing the shutting of their doors. The Roxy Theatre, Airdrie’s original and only movie theatre, was officially closing. 

Immediately after the announcement, there were messages of sorrow that the theatre couldn’t thrive mixed with messages of people placing blame. “This is all Kenney’s fault” was a popular message. “The City should do something” was another. “COVID has killed another business” was the most common.

Many messages were of fond memories people had of times spent there with their families or friends. It was within those messages that I concluded who was truly to blame for the failure of this beloved business. 

As I read through the comments of people reminiscing about their memories of The Roxy, I could see a genuine sense of loss. “I remember seeing Cool Runnings there with my kids” wrote one commenter. “My kids and I saw Pokemon 3 there a couple times,” wrote another. Yet another took a trip down memory lane by tagging a friend and typing, “Remember lining up for a midnight showing of Titanic?”

Castaway, Dark Knight, A Beautiful Mind, Lord of The Rings, The Green Mile, Runaway Bride, Red Dragon and so many more movies were talked about and tied to memories of family nights out or special dates. One after another, people listed off fond memories of iconic movies they’d seen at the Roxy Theatre in Airdrie.

I sat there, absorbing all of the memories vicariously through the sharings of others, when something struck me as odd. Throughout all of the messages and postings, throughout all of the memories shared and the the many titles cited, hardly any of them were from within the last 10 years. That means Landmark Cinemas had absolutely no reason to believe the business would be viable again once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Quite frankly, it wasn’t even viable going into the pandemic. I thought about my last few visits there and recalled that there were only two or three other couples in attendance. I myself, did not attend the theatre often, and wondered if it was the same for others. 

There’s an old adage that goes, “Use it or lose it.” If something isn’t used, there is no sense in retaining it and therefore it will be eliminated. We can blame the economy. We can blame the government. We can even blame a pandemic. But if we are truly honest with ourselves, who’s truly to blame? 

There are some wonderful volunteers who will be working hard toward helping kickstart our local businesses as things open up and further restrictions are lifted in the coming days and weeks. This weekend, Volunteer Airdrie will have folks at the Canadian Superstore on Saturday from 11am till 3 pm. They are selling the community our new coupon books, which support 120 local Airdrie businesses as well as non-profit organizations.

There will also be volunteers selling the books at the Save-On Foods in Coopers Crossing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Also, Volunteers from Community Links will be selling the books at the Airdrie Farmers Market this coming Wednesday. Please watch for them. We hope to get enough folks who truly care about supporting local, to get active while saving money.

Let’s not wring our hands in anguish over another community loss – let’s join hands in support of friends and neighbours working in local businesses.