Abbotsford church plans to build 2,000-seat auditorium

New building needs high roof to allow for unobstructed views and sound system

A local church is going ahead with plans to build a new auditorium that would seat more than 2,000 people.

Northview Church plans to build the new auditorium on its current Downes Road complex. The church’s large congregation currently uses multiple venues within its current site, and it now plans to follow through on longstanding plans to build a large auditorium.

On Monday, council signed off on a development variance permit that will allow the auditorium’s roof to be 11 feet higher than normally permitted. The 43-foot height, the church says, is necessary to accommodate a large speaker array without obstructing sight lines.

Northview’s plans to build a new auditorium date back more than two decades, when the Mennonite Brethren Conference of BC got approval from the Agricultural Land Commission to build an auditorium that could hold as many as 4,000 congregants.

The church’s current plans propose a facility half that size. They will also see more than 100 parking spaces added to the 726 currently on the site.

The city usually requests a contribution from applicants asking for permission to go beyond rules. But a staff report says such a demand was not made because a church is deemed an “institutional use” and such a contribution wasn’t requested for a previous expansion.

The application was passed unanimously. Couns. Ross Siemens and Les Barkman declared themselves to be members of the church and recused themselves from the vote.

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Northview Church wants to build a new 2,000-seat auditorium at its Downes Road site.

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