Lacombe has long been Central Alberta’s heritage building treasure trove.
A number of buildings have made the province’s historical designation list, such as the Blacksmith Shop, the oldest running shop of its kind in Alberta.
But there was enthusiasm in town for going a step further and creating a Municipal Heritage Resource designation that reflects local tastes.
The Heritage Management Plan was passed last year and this week, St. Andrew’s United Church became the first local landmark designated.
Built in 1908-09, the red brick Gothic Revival-style St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church sits at the corner of 52nd Avenue and 51st Street. In 1922, following the merger of local Methodist and Presbyterian congregations, it became St. Andrew’s United.
City planner Jennifer Kirchner said the municipal designation singles out buildings that are important to the local community.
“In this case, the community can be a bit more selective based on the buildings they feel they reflect the community, the community history, the architecture, things like that.” In St. Andrew’s case, it was an important part of the community’s early spiritual history and growth.
“On a provincial scale, it may not be viewed as important because there may be multiple buildings of the same type.”
Along with the designation, council adopted a Heritage Bylaw that establishes a council Heritage Resources Committee, which will be in charge of designating buildings.
The committee must also approve any alterations to designated buildings that may affect “key character-defining elements.”
As well, a Heritage Resources Fund has been established to support conservation and a grant program set up to provide matching grants for refurbishment projects.
Last November, the Canadian Institute of Planners included Lacombe among its list of five Great Places, chosen from nearly 70 nominees from across the country.
Judge Gary Noble noted that in Lacombe, “the heritage Edwardian buildings are seen as a valuable community resource not only to be appreciated but to be used.”
A designation ceremony for St. Andrew’s is set for Sept. 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the church.