OCEANSIDE — You can hopefully see more Hollywood stars in the area after a new film studio opened in Oceanside.
Vancouver Island Film Studios officially opened Thursday in a lot just off Highway 4A. A small studio is currently open, with a larger one to be ready by early 2018 and two more to follow.
Developer Ron Chiovetti said having home studios for shows such as Chesapeake Shores and all the films currently shooting along B.C.’s south coast is a game changer for the area.
“We think this is going to draw business over here from the Mainland. It’s certainly more economical for them to be here on the Island. It allows them to have an infrastructure which isn’t in place today. This is a purpose-built facility that will allow them to come here and know it’s here when they come back,” he said.
Show producers said the Hallmark series Chesapeake Shores has directed roughly $5.5 million into Parksville’s economy. TV and movie production was a $2.6 billion industry across B.C. last year.
There’s currently no financial projections for Vancouver Island Film Studios, but Chiovetti said he’s confident it will lead to more local work and provide a significant boost to the mid-island.
Hal Keown, construction coordinator for Chesapeake Shores, said he’s thrilled to have studios to work in.
He said the studio and mid-island region will entice producers and directors fed up with Vancouver and Victoria, where the number of available studios is dwindling drastically and many locations have been over shot.
It’s also expected to make the filming process run much smoother.
“A lot of time there’s sets that need to be built that we can’t go out on a location for, or if you have an area you want to duplicate, we can build it on a sound stage. And then we’re not stepping on people’s toes or blocking up areas where the public needs to be. We can film at our leisure and we’re not interfering with neighbours and interrupting people’s lives.”
Story written by Spencer Sterritt
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit