The old Field’s store will become the new home of the Cariboo Community Church after council approved a parking variance.

The old Field’s store will become the new home of the Cariboo Community Church after council approved a parking variance.

Homeless church in Williams Lake moving into former Field’s Store

A homeless church in Williams Lake will be moving into the former Field's Store location with a parking variance approved by city council.

A homeless church will now have a permanent home in downtown Williams Lake.

On Tuesday city council, in a vote of four to three, approved a parking variance for the Cariboo Community Church, which plans to move into the former Field’s Store on Oliver Street.

Because of the variance, the church will only need to provide 25 parking spaces, rather than the normally required 98, although church members said many surrounding businesses have offered the use of their parking spaces on Sundays.

Pastor Paul Lomavatu told city council the church was formed 16 years ago, but has never had a permanent home.

“We often met in gyms, but when the school board raised the rent we started meeting at the Seventh Day Adventist Church,” he said. “We feel that the 35 Oliver Street location is an opportunity to build community.”

After council’s decision went in the church’s favour Lomavatu said it was a relief.

“We’ve been waiting for this decision — now we can meet and look at the plans for renovations.”

Councillors Scott Nelson, Jason Ryll, Laurie Walters and Sue Zacharias voted in favour of the parking variance. Mayor Walt Cobb, Coun. Craig Smith and Coun. Ivan Bonnell were opposed.

Cobb said he was worried the parking variance would set a precedent.