Homes along 43 Ave. like this one between 53 and 55 Streets may be considered for Heritage status.

Heritage survey starting this spring

All the unique aspects of some older Red Deer homes — from prime ministerial visits to original woodwork — will soon be documented by city officials.

All the unique aspects of some older Red Deer homes — from prime ministerial visits to original woodwork — will soon be documented by city officials.

A two-year heritage survey is starting this spring on more than 200 Red Deer properties that are 70-plus years old, said Janet Pennington, the City of Red Deer’s heritage community development co-ordinator.

“This is what municipalities are supposed to do,” she added, under the Alberta Historic Resource Act. But Pennington also believes it’s a worthwhile undertaking for the city’s posterity.

“It’s really nice to have unique heritage buildings in our community,” she added, since their presence reminds us of the Red Deer’s history, and “helps give us a sense of community identity and pride.”

Pennington is confident interesting properties will be discovered during the survey. “We already know of one home where Sir Wilfred Laurier stayed there in 1910. It’s one of the most incredible houses,” she added, although the address couldn’t be revealed out of privacy considerations for the owners.

All never-before-surveyed Red Deer homes and commercial structures built before 1945 will be identified and photographed. “We want to know does the house look like it used to when it was originally built? Does it have vinyl siding on it?” said Pennington.

Building histories will also be compiled so heritage value can be assessed.

Not all older structures are worth preserving. Pennington is interested in finding the exceptional few — whether they are in mostly original condition, or have notable historic significance.

The owners will be approached to see whether they are interested in obtaining municipal or provincial historic designation for these buildings, she said.

This would make it possible to obtain grant money for restoration and conservation. It would also make it much harder to have the structures torn down in future — municipal or provincial government permission would be needed and Pennington said it’s virtually never given.

Red Deer has already lost buildings of significance. The downtown Arlington Hotel and the Botterill House, once located on Ross Street across from Jackpot Casino, were both demolished after inspections determined they were structurally too far gone and repairs would be too costly.

Pennington said one goal of the survey, which will cost $120,000 over two years (this year a $30,000 province grant was received and the city matched it), is to hopefully prevent other notable homes or commercial properties from falling into disrepair.

One eye-catching structure that already has historic designation is the old Red Deer armory and fire hall, which was turned into the children’s section of the Red Deer Public Library. Pennington said it needs a new cedar-shake roof, so the city has applied for a provincial grant towards the $200,000 cost.

Cronquist House is a “Red Deer resource,” while St. Luke’s Church and the Ross Street Cenotaph have received provincial historic designations. Pennington knows some property owners will balk at applying for historic designations for their buildings out of fear that future renovations will be restricted. But she said the province and municipality have become more accommodating about what’s allowed for historic buildings.

Even expansions projects can be approved, as long as they are in the character of the building, she added. “They cannot tell an owner, ‘You can’t paint your front door green.’ They are more flexible.”

The second phase of the survey — creating a consolidated inventory of all heritage sites in the city — will be done in 2016.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Joe Hittel rappels down 12 storey building in Red Deer – again

Eighty four year old Red Deerian was not afraid to rappel down… Continue reading

Indigenous nation in Washington State seeks meeting with feds on Trans Mountain

VANCOUVER — The Lummi Nation in northwest Washington state is requesting a… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Weekend hours extended

Things heated up indoors on the Friday of Westerner Days Fair &… Continue reading

Central Alberta author recalls the giant step for humankind that happened 50 years ago

Sigmund Brouwer has written about the Apollo 11 moon mission

‘I’m choosing not to be a victim,’ Danforth shooting survivor says

TORONTO — Danielle Kane struggled with depression in her 20s and even… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

ESPN reasserts political talk policy after attack on Trump

NEW YORK — ESPN is reminding employees of the network’s policy to… Continue reading

Tentative agreement averts strike by Quebec provincial park employees

MONTREAL — A full-blown strike by employees at Quebec provincial parks that… Continue reading

Air Force will end search for missing Quebec businessman and his son

MONTREAL — The Royal Canadian Air Force said Saturday it will gradually… Continue reading

Panel orders federal judge to reconsider Trump appeal

WASHINGTON — An appeals court on Friday ordered a federal judge to… Continue reading

What consumers can do as regulators weigh compounds’ risks

WASHINGTON — The government is trying to sort out how to handle… Continue reading

Technology, temporary help keeps farmers on job longer

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — At 79 years old, Art McManus says he’s still… Continue reading

Standoff on Hawaii mountain is about more than a telescope

HONOLULU — Protesters fighting the construction of a giant telescope on a… Continue reading

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

OTTAWA — A federal program designed to help low-income Canadians file their… Continue reading

Most Read