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Quote of the Week
"There are lots of things out there that are old, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should be protected."
- Matthew Francis  
   
   

 

 
Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council received a presentation from Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services for Alberta Culture and Community Services, at the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting last Tuesday, November 29th, apprising them of heritage funding available to the community.
Francis presented information on the province’s Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) and the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation’s Alberta Main Street Program, both of which provide funding to Alberta municipalities endeavouring to conserve local heritage resources.
The MHPP, which was launched in 2006 and has since assisted approximately 85 communities across the province, assists municipalities in identifying, evaluating and managing historic places.
“When we think about heritage and our historic places, we often think about the past,” said Francis.
“I’d like to encourage Council to consider heritage and historic places as an important element and asset in looking forward as well.”
“We work to protect historic places, while also celebrating and maximizing them… through partnership with local governments, private property owners, and the community as a whole,” he said.
“Here in the Crowsnest Pass, there is a wealth – a richness – of heritage.”
Francis said identification of significant historic places is done through a heritage survey, and noted that similar surveys were carried out in Crowsnest Pass in the 70s and 80s, when more than 2,000 buildlings were documented as historic places.
Francis said the current survey serves to identify those places that are of the greatest significance to the community according to provincial criteria.
“There are lots of things out there that are old, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be protected,” he said.
Of the resources identified, some may then be designated as a historic resource and placed on the Municipal Register of Historic Places, which will then allow them to be protected via local bylaws.
 

“The best way to conserve a historic place is for it to have a use – to be a part of the way people live, work, play and do business – and integrate it into the life of the community,” said Francis, noting that the Orpheum Theatre in Blairmore was recently designated as a municipal historic resource.
He said once a resource has been properly identified through provincial criteria, the Province can then deliver cost-share funding to municipalities or private landowners through the MHPP, and that funding for Crowsnest Pass resources would be made available at a higher level – the same that is available to cities and municipal districts – as it is a specialized municipality.
Francis noted that the Crowsnest Pass Municipal Heritage Board has made a request to Council to approve the undertaking of a heritage inventory, for which up to $30,000 could be made available through the MHPP.
Then, owners of properties which are designated as historic resources are eligible to apply for up to $50,000 in matching funding for approved conservation work.
“We know that conserving historic places properly is not cheap – it’s expensive,” said Francis.
He added that Crowsnest Pass would also qualify for funding through Main Street, which provides up to $40,000 in annual funding for the promotion of economic vitality and heritage conservation within the historic commercial district.
Francis said the process of identifying the most important municipal heritage resources should be done through public engagement and consultation with the community, using local media and surveys to identify the places with the most interest.
“We recommend that those are community decisions,” said Francis.
He said following that consultation, the Municipal Heritage Board would then make its final recommendation to Council.
For more information on the MHPP, visit mhpp.ab.ca, and for more information on Main Street, visit albertamainstreet.org.
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