Nelson city council has agreed to loan the Civic Theatre Society up to $1 million, if they need it.

It’s intended to bolster a $3.3-million dollar grant to help convert the city-owned building to a three-screen facility.

Councillor Janice Morrison says she feels comfortable helping the non-profit organization.

“This group has proven their worth,” she says. “Four years ago, they were fairly new in their undertaking and there was some question as to their viability. But they’ve increased their capacity. They’ve done what the city asked them to do: develop a business case with their three-screen model.

“[They are a] strong group of volunteers driven to do the best possible job and ensure this is a successful project. I think knowing the city is behind them will give them momentum to push hard.”

The exact terms are still to be negotiated but the loan would be repaid over 10 years.

Morrison says it’s not unprecedented; they did something similar with Nelson Youth Soccer.

“We have done this before. As a municipality we have access to very good low-cost funds. I think this is reasonable,” she says.

The Civic wants to add two more screens, which they say is critical to their long-term viability.

The grant application has to be submitted later this month. The society expects to hear back on it in the summer or fall.