At its meeting on July 12, Lacombe County council received an update on the progress of the C4 Initiative.
The report, which was received only as information, had a few of the individuals involved with C4 present on where the project is currently at and why it is a necessity for Lacombe and Lacombe County.
C4 is an initiative planning to build a cultural community centre in Lacombe with spaces for the performing arts as well as children and family programming. The initiative has proposed to use plots of land owned by the City of Lacombe and Wolf Creek Public Schools for the location of the building.
Since the last appearing at a County council meeting, C4 has completed a preliminary feasibility study, said Grant Harder, president of the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation.
He added the results of the study were in line with what the group expected.
“The study didn’t hold any surprises for us,” said Harder. “It confirmed our belief that there is very strong support and demand from a number of user groups.”
Harder also gave a few examples of those supporters and said local dance groups were one of the biggest supporters of the project as they are constantly competing for space to hold recitals.
Another group Harder said were large supporters of the project was Cow Pattie Theatre.
While Cow Pattie currently hosts their performances at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club with great success, it is not a great performance area and Cow Pattie is simply making the best of bad situation, said Harder.
Donnie Tafts, Family Services coordinator for Lacombe FCSS, said that Lacombe is seeing a growing need for the kind of programs and facilities a centre like the one proposed in the C4 Initiative could accommodate.
Some examples she gave were Lacombe’s need for a new daycare facility and more programming from FCSS aimed at children in their early years. She also reiterated Harder’s comments about local dance groups needing space to hold annual competitions and rehearsals.
All members of the C4 Initiative spoke of the problem that most performing arts and child programming facilities face – theatres are often unused during the day while child programming facilities are empty in the evenings.
By combining these facilities together, C4 could provide a multi-use building that would see more balanced use throughout any given day, making the project more feasible.
Many of the questions County council had about the initiative were regarding funding for the project. Some councillors also wanted to know what other groups were onboard to provide funds for the building of the proposed centre.
Harder said that C4 has not approached anyone for funding yet, as at this point it is not known how big the building or extensive the project will be.
“At this point, we want everyone to think of the C4 Initiative as a blank canvas,” said Harder. “We haven’t asked anyone for money because we don’t know how much money to ask for.”
Councillor Brenda Knight also cautioned the C4 Initiative against too strong of a youth facility focus.
She said that it is great to support youth, but it is important to remember that older individuals want facilities they can use as well.
In May, Lacombe City council voted to hold the requested plot for a period of two years while structural developments are being drawn and Wolf Creek Public Schools has provided C4 with a letter of intent to enter into negotiations to secure the land for the purposes of the C4 Initiative.