The province’s oldest private television station goes off air tonight after more than a half century.

An employee-led bid to purchase Victoria’s CHEK-TV was rejected by owner Canwest Global on Friday.

Richard Konwick, an assignment editor who has been at CHEK for the past eight years, said the bid’s rejection was disappointing, but morale at the closing station is high.

“People have been really working hard to make something happen and it has been a really positive experience,” said Konwick, who is president of the local Commun­ications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

In July, Canwest announced it could not afford to keep CHEK running and had failed to find a buyer for the station.

According to media reports, employees and private investors had raised $2.5 million to purchase the station and put a formal bid to Canwest. The bid, however, did not meet Canwest’s guidelines.

To mark the closure, CHEK is holding a celebration today to thank viewers and supporters. It will be included in the evening newscast.

“We’re hoping to have lots and lots of people come and enjoy themselves,” Konwick said.