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C4 pushes forward with plans for arts venue

Ashli Barrett, Lacombe Globe

Cranna Community Cultural Centre (C4) representatives gave Lacombe City Council an update on the C4 Initiative project last week during their regular meeting.
While it’s no secret to many in the community that a hub for arts and culture is needed in the city, Neil Evans and Brittany Mulder made it clear with their presentation, “The Show Can’t Go On,” that C4 is committed to doing everything they can to keep the project moving forward.
Part of their efforts have included reducing the budget and size of the building design.
“We’ve kept it simple and we’ve kept it as lean as we can,” said Evans. “One of the things council said to us was to shrink the footprint. I think we’ve done that well. The suggestion to reduce the budget has also been done.
“Our present budget in today’s world is $24.9-million. That’s down considerably from where we were – over $30-million.”
While the projected cost for 2021 sits at $27-million, C4’s proposal is for the sum to be split three ways – between the City and the provincial and federal governments, along with additional fundraising.
The land for the project, meanwhile, situated just east of the current City Hall building, has been held in abeyance by the City of Lacombe and Wolf Creek School Division while C4 put together a business plan and facility design. The abeyance agreement was set to expire last fall before it was extended until Oct. 26.
C4 requested another extension from council during their presentation, which would take them to Oct. 31, 2017. The same request is being made to Wolf Creek School Division to accommodate the new plan.
In addition, C4 asked for council to consider including them in their 10 Year Capital Plan for the amount of $9-million, with the promise they would also fundraise and ensure monies raised would be injected back into Lacombe.
Mulder iterated the desire and need for a performing arts and art centre by referencing the feasibility study done by the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation in 2012.
“Lacombe is hungry for the arts and is so passionate and talented,” she said. “A performing arts centre will encourage community engagement, positively impact our economy and improve citizens’ quality of life.”
She added that in talking with local dance studios, they found there was no suitable venue for dancers in the city – which has three different studios training 100-300 dancers each per year, in addition to another 300 in Blackfalds, and 130 in Ponoka.
The Lacombe Art Guild and community bands, she said, are also dire need of permanent space for rehearsals, classes and shows. C4’s proposed multi-purpose venue – which would feature a black-box theatre, rehearsal and auxiliary spaces as well as an art gallery – would alleviate that need.
Councillor Grant Harder, who had been appointed to the C4 Committee in 2014, said the venue would have a positive impact on the community, and attract visitors from outside the city’s boundaries.
“There’s an economic benefit to the community,” Harder said. “It’s not just about providing performance space to the citizens of Lacombe.
“It’s like the field of dreams – build it and they will come.”
The extension of the land abeyance agreement was on the council agenda, however, council deferred discussing it further until they review their 10 Year Capital Plan at their Oct. 24 regular meeting.
Should council give C4 permission to move ahead, fundraising and working to get the provincial and federal governments on board will be their next step.
“The show can’t go on unless we have a new facility,” said Evans. “Our aim is to make sure the show can go on, and on, and on.”

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