Red Deer’s historic Scout hut, built in 1937, is expected to be demolished to make way for a women’s pending shelter expansion. City officials say the deteriorating cabin isn’t stable enough to be moved. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s historic Scout hut, built in 1937, is expected to be demolished to make way for a women’s pending shelter expansion. City officials say the deteriorating cabin isn’t stable enough to be moved. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s historic scout hut too deteriorated to move, likely to be demolished: city official

The property is needed for a women’s shelter expansion

Time is running out for Red Deer’s historic Scout hut, which is expected to be demolished before construction begins on the women’s shelter expansion next door.

Wade Martens, Land & Economic Development co-ordinator for the City of Red Deer said the city’s call for expressions of public interest in the building led to a few citizen inquiries about moving the hut off the property at 53 Street and 47 Avenue.

But after reviewing the results of an integrity assessment of the structure from 2018, area residents concluded this “was not feasible,” due to the deteriorated state of the logs, added Martens.

There were also some local suggestions the hut — also known as Rover’s Cabin — be transported to Heritage Park or Sunnybrook Farm, but Martens added the challenges would be the same: “The integrity is not there. It would disintegrate.”

Its most likely fate is being dismantled before construction begins on the expansion of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, said Martens. The non-profit shelter, located on the next lot, previously purchased the city-owned land the scout cabin sits on.

Michael Dawe, a local historian and city councillor, said the cabin at one time was considered as a possible addition to a list of local historic properties, but this was never done.

It will be “regrettable” to lose the cabin, which was opened by Canada’s former Governor General John Buchan in 1937, said Dawe. Red Deer has few buildings left that are 85 years old, so the historian is disappointed so little interest was shown over the past decades in maintaining it.

He noted, “The city had ownership of it for some time…”

Some of the worst damage was sustained from a fire that burned one wall of the hut about 14 years ago. “Over time, that contributed to the deterioration,” said Dawe.

Once the scout hut is gone, Martens said women’s shelter officials have pledged to mark its history in some way, possibly with a plaque.

A shelter spokesperson could not immediately be reached to give a timeline for the planned expansion project on Tuesday.

In December, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter executive director Jacquie Boyd had said construction could start this summer if a federal grant comes through by the end of this month.

The plan is to add eight beds to the 40-bed shelter in response to rising occupancy. Shelter officials are also looking at installing movable walls to reconfigure bedrooms, as needed, and adding an elevator to increase accessibility.

More women’s programming would be moved into the building, including outreach services, trauma and prevention services. At some point, transitional housing units would also be created for clients who need assistance getting back on their feet.

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