The arts community will soon be able to use Trinity Lutheran Church as a venue after Lacombe city council passed a bylaw rezoning the site from Residential Detached (R1) to Community Services (CS) on Monday.

Three neighbours opposed the rezoning during the public hearing, saying that finding adequate parking space would be a problem. However, most of the feedback, both oral and written, was favourable.

“We knew all along that there was tremendous support within the community but to actually have them put it in writing and give us something to take to council was exceptional,” said Grant Harder, president of the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation, a non-profit that has partnered with the church in hopes of using the building as a temporary performance space.

For Harder and the arts community, the 150-seat church sanctuary fills a dearth of performance space in the community.

Logistics of how the facility would be operated, like bookings and rentals, still have to be ironed out, he said.

“We’re going to finish off some details with the Lutheran church and start doing some planning. Look forward to doing some programming, see what available shows we can bring in, see what kind of entertainment we can bring to Lacombe,” he said.

Ed Koberstein, chair of Trinity Lutheran Church, also attended the meeting.

He said the partnership with the foundation started last August, wanting to open the church to a non-profit.

The church was zoned R1 under the previous Land Use Bylaw and needed a CS designation in order to have “theatre and entertainment services” as a discretionary use, or “community, culture and recreation facility” as a permitted use.

Long term, the foundation’s vision is to build a 550-capacity cultural building near Cranna Lake.

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