Municipal Heritage Management Plan

Fort Saskatchewan Approves Historic Precinct Site Master Plan

The City of Fort Saskatchewan is one step closer to realizing their vision for the development and interpretation of a significant community amenity through Council’s recent approval of the Historic Precinct Site Master Plan Guiding Document. Located adjacent to the City’s downtown and along the edge of the North Saskatchewan River, the Historic Precinct provides a unique opportunity to showcase the cultural history of Fort Saskatchewan and to develop a space for public learning and enjoyment.

Historic Precinct Area

Historic Precinct Area

The Approach

The Historic Precinct contains an array of man-made and natural elements that contribute to the telling of the story of Fort Saskatchewan. Project consultants EIDOS Consultants Inc. and Marshall Tittemore Architects approached the conceptualization of the space as a cultural landscape, wherein:

“An important part of the Precinct’s heritage value is found in the relics of law and order and public works, including buildings, structures, sightlines, earth mounds, plant materials and features that remain in situ. These relics constitute part of the heritage value of the area by providing tangible evidence of how it was transformed and used by the NWMP, Canadian Northern Railway, the Province and the City.” (Historic Precinct Site Master Plan, page 9).

The planning process sought to integrate local values into the final plan and therefore included public and stakeholder consultation through surveys, open houses and workshop sessions.

The City of Fort Saskatchewan’s Diane Yanch, Culture & Historic Precinct Supervisor and Richard Gagnon, Director of Culture Services display a copy of the completed Historic Precinct Master Plan

The City of Fort Saskatchewan’s Diane Yanch, Culture & Historic Precinct Supervisor and Richard Gagnon, Director of Culture Services display a copy of the completed Historic Precinct Master Plan

The Master Plan

The Master Plan involved considering the long-term development and interpretation of the historic precinct, including integration of existing Provincial Historic Resources, recommendations for pedestrian circulation and way-finding, interpretation opportunities and development of a conceptual design for a new Interpretive Centre. A detailed phasing plan was also provided to allow the City to structure implementation in a coordinated and cost-effective manner.

Historic Precinct Site Master Plan

Historic Precinct Site Master Plan

The uniqueness of the site is exemplified by the existence of three Provincial Historic Resources within its boundaries including the North West Mounted Police Post, the Fort Saskatchewan Museum (Courthouse), and the Canadian Northern Railway Station. These three historic resources are proposed to be key elements in the interpretation and programming of the Historic Precinct and are considered as Historic Precinct Nodes in the Master Plan.

  • Original 1875 Fort Site Node – This Provincial Historic Resource is presently an open native grass field and will remain untouched during development, with the long term goal of undertaking small scale research and public archaeology programs in partnership with interested academic institutions, archaeological societies and the Province of Alberta.
  •  Fort Saskatchewan Museum and Cultural Village Node – The Fort Saskatchewan Museum (Courthouse) is a designated Provincial Historic Resource. The Master Plan calls for the land surrounding the Courthouse to be utilized as a ‘cultural village’ in which historic buildings and artifacts will be displayed.
  •  Railway Node – The CNR Station will continue to be space for use by community groups. The area around the Station will be enhanced to include an opportunity to showcase other rail infrastructure, landscaping and opportunity to enhance access to the adjacent Legacy Park and farmer’s market plaza.

Other Historic Precinct Nodes proposed within the plan include a Gaol Node, Religion Node, MétisNode and First Nations Node.

Next Steps

The City will continue with planning the programming for the future Interpretive Centre with hopes of breaking ground by the end of 2014. Conservation Plans have been prepared for the Courthouse/Museum and CNR Railway Station to ensure that on-going improvements and maintenance are consistent with accepted conservation practices. In accordance with the terms of designation, approvals will be obtained for any projects within the site that will affect the Provincial Historic Resources as well as work in the vicinity of the NWMP Police Post due to the high archaeological potential of the site.

Proposed General Concept Design of the Interpretive Centre

Proposed General Concept Design of the Interpretive Centre

The Historic Precinct Master Plan was partially funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation under the Heritage Management Plan grant category of the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program. Though Heritage Management Plans typically take the form of a document that outlines policy and a process for municipal designation, the grant category is flexible and can apply to projects that involve planning and policy development for the stewardship of historic resources more broadly. The Historic Precinct Site Master Plan is an example of how the program can be tailored to meet the unique needs of municipalities.

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Municipal Heritage Partnership Program Grants

Helping Alberta’s municipalities identify, evaluate and manage locally significant historic places.

Alberta’s municipalities are now working on plans and budgets for 2014. I’d like to remind municipal stakeholders responsible for heritage about the grant programs offered through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation).

The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program offers three types of grants to help municipalities conserve locally significance historic places.

A municipality can apply for funding to complete a heritage survey. A survey gathers basic information about a municipality’s potential historic places. There are many articles on RETROactive describing survey projects municipalities have undertaken using these grants.

A municipality can also apply for funding to inventory historic resources. An inventory lists places that are locally significant, evaluates them to decide exactly why they are significant and creates the documentation needed to designate these as Municipal Historic Resources. You can also peruse RETROactive posts on municipal inventory projects that our partner municipalities have worked on.

A municipality can also apply for funding to develop a heritage management plan. A management plan helps the municipality conserve significant historic places, the highlight of which is policy on the designation of Municipal Historic Resources. You can read about different municipal heritage management plans on RETORactive as well.

The grant application consists of a written project proposal, which must include a budget. The foundation may award a grant that can cover up to half the cost of the project, up to certain maximum amounts.

M.D. or County City Town Village
Survey $30 000 $30 000 $20 000 $10 000
Inventory $30 000 $30 000 $20 000 $10 000
Management Plan $20 000 $20 000 $15 000 $7 500

The next grant deadline will be early in 2014, but it’s never too early to begin planning a project. You can learn more about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grant program by visiting the cost sharing page on the website.

If you’re thinking of undertaking a heritage conservation project, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you plan your next project.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer.

Vulcan goes where few municipalities have gone before

Vulcan has developed a plan

Vulcan County, the Town of Vulcan and the Village of Champion are once again working together (you might even say they’ve federated) to conserve their shared heritage. With the aid of a Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grant, they will create a heritage management plan over the next year.

Dedicated readers may recall that these three communities (along with the Villages of Carmangay and Milo) surveyed and inventoried several historic resources last year. They identified several places of interest—sites that warrant further evaluation due to their probable historical or architectural significance. Vulcan’s HAB has already confirmed that many of are significance—that is, they somehow physically embody some aspect of Vulcan’s history.

Knowing that they have several sites that are significance and have integrity, the Vulcanites have turned their attention to figuring out how to protect their locally significant historic resources. That is why they have chosen to develop a heritage management plan. During the next year, they will develop a policy and process to designate locally significant historic resources. Many locally significant sites will be designated as Municipal Historic Resources.

The management plan will lay out the application process and how each municipality will decide what to designate. This will include determining what types of sites they will designate, how the consent of the owner (to designation) will be obtained how the public will be consulted. It will ensure that each proposed designation will be evaluated for historical or architectural significance. This significance will be written down as a statement of significance.

The management plan will also lay out how permits to alter a Municipal Historic Resources will be processed. This involves creating an application process. A proposal to alter a site should describe what is being proposed and why. The municipality then needs to evaluate the proposed change using the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The plan will identify who will process these permits and propose a means of training these agents in the use of the Standards and Guidelines.

The final step will involve exploring what incentives each municipality could offer to encourage the owners of Municipal Historic Resources to conserve them. A successful municipal heritage conservation programs recognizes the need to assist the owner of historic places with the cost of their conservation. The incentive could be grants or tax credits. Any program or service that defrays the cost of operating a property work as incentives too. (You can read Managing Historic Places: Protection and Stewardship of Your Local Heritage for more on heritage management planning).

I’m looking forward to working with Vulcan on this project. When it is done, they will join a select few communities that have completed a survey, inventory and management plan with our assistance. The Vulcans will soon be well poised to protect and conserve their historic places and we’ll all be richer for it.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Managing Lacombe’s Heritage

I had the pleasure of attending the City of Lacombe’s Heritage Open House on February 28th. The city presented a draft of their heritage management plan for community perusal and input. The event was hosted by Lacombe’s Heritage Preservation Program at the beautiful St. Andrew’s United Church hall. People started arriving from the moment the doors opened and kept coming until the end, asking great questions about Lacombe’s Heritage Preservation Program. The turnout was wonderful. You can read a bit more about the event itself at the City of Lacombe’s blog.

City of Lacombe, Heritage Management Plan Open House - 20130228-00010Lacombe’s Heritage Management Plan will ensure that locally significant historic resources are identified, protected and systematically conserved. Under the plan, the Lacombe Heritage Steering Committee will continue to revise and update the municipal heritage inventory begun in spring of 2011. The city will soon be able to protect locally significant historic places using new policies governing the designation of Municipal Historic Resources. The final elements will be the plan to evaluate changes to designated resources to insure they retain their heritage value.

The plan will be complete and finalized in the coming months. We’ll bring you more information on the plan when it’s complete. The City of Lacombe can soon begin designating its first Municipal Historic Resources. Stay tuned.

For those who are interested in Lacombe’s heritage, you may wish to check out their facebook page: I ♥ Lacombe Heritage.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Managing Heritage: the City of St. Albert’s new plan

Heritage Management Plan Final Feb 2013_Page_01Over the past year, Municipal Heritage Services staff collaborated with City of St. Albert staff and the St. Albert Arts and Heritage Foundation on developing a municipal heritage management plan. A grant from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program, partially funded the planning process.

The City of St. Albert Heritage Management Plan includes many objectives. A few key elements of the plan include:

  • a list of strategies and objectives for sustaining a successful heritage program in St. Albert, including the appointment of a heritage advisory board for community members to advise the council;
  • it complements existing civic plans including the Municipal Development Plan, the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan, the Cultural Master Plan and the Tourism Master Plan;
  • provides a process to add new qualifying places to the St. Albert Heritage Inventory; and
  • includes a process for nominating sites on the inventory for designation as Municipal Historic Resources, among other protective strategies.

The plan also includes a provision to establish a reserve fund that can be used to help finance conservation work on Municipal Historic Resources and for raising public awareness of St. Albert’s heritage.

We are excited to see St. Albert implement the plan over the next decade. If you’d like to discuss the possibility of developing a heritage management plan for your community feel free to contact MHPP staff.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Prior Preparation and Planning

Municipal Heritage Planning in the Village of Holden

Members of the Holden Heritage Resources Committee at the 2011 Municipal Heritage Forum

In 2011 the Village completed a combined Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory but decided that before designating any Municipal Historic Resources it would be best to develop a “recipe” for a successful local heritage conservation program. In January of 2012, the Village of Holden began work on the plan. Village staff and the Holden Heritage Resources Committee, with the services of a heritage consultant, have developed a draft plan appropriate to the Village’s needs and objectives. Elements of the plan include:

  • a policy outlining the designation process and eligibility requirements;
  • a procedure for reviewing requests to alter Municipal Historic Resources; and
  • a template bylaw for Municipal Historic Resource designations.

On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 the Village hosted on open house, inviting the owners of properties that had been documented and evaluated in the Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory project, and any other interested residents. The attendance numbers and interest exhibited revealed an engaged community. Congratulations on a successful open house!

Cost-shared funding assistance for this project was provided by the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (Alberta Historical Resources Foundation). If your municipality is interested in developing a municipal heritage conservation program please contact Municipal Heritage Services. 

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Planning in the Peace

Heritage Management Planning in Peace River

On May 10th, I had the pleasure of attending a heritage management planning open house, hosted by the Town of Peace River. The town wanted public feedback on the heritage management policies they have been working on with the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program since September. Posters describing the proposed designation and management policies where hung in various locations around the museum and staff were available to answer public questions. The open house was held near the river at the Peace River Museum and Mackenzie Centre. The plan includes two components: a Municipal Historic Resource designation policy and a plan to manage designated sites.

Open house attendees arriving at the Peace River Museum.

The Municipal Historic Resource designation policy explains how Peace River will determine if a site is historic and if it should be protected as a Municipal Historic Resource. The policy will specify who can nominate a site for designation and what the town must know about the history and condition of a place to make a recommendation to the town council. These policies will help the town decide if designating a site will protect a place that embodies an important part of Peace River’s heritage. It will help the Town determine if protection is in the public interest. The policy will also help the Town and property owners understand their obligations towards one another should a property be designated.

The second part of the management plan is the alteration permitting process. A Municipal Historic Resource cannot be altered without the municipality’s approval. The management policy will explain how an owner applies for a permit, what information they need to provide and how applications will be evaluated. For instance, it is important to be able to answer questions such as:

  • will the changes affect the heritage value of the historic place, allowing the destruction of character-defining elements?
  • will the changes impact the site as little as possible?
  • who within the municipal administration makes these decisions?

The management policy ensures that these questions are answered in a consistent and transparent way.

Staff at the Town of Peace River are putting the final touches on the management plan and will present it to Town Council in June. We will bring you more details after the plan has been approved by council.

If you have question about management planning or any other aspect of heritage conservation, check out the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program website or drop us a line.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

A Recipe for Success: Planning, Procedures and Policies

The Holden Cenotaph with the Globe Lumber Company Building. Both resources were evaluated for the Municipal Heritage Inventory project completed in 2011.

The Village of Holden, located an hour southeast of Edmonton on Highway 14 with a population of 400, is developing a Municipal Heritage Management Plan. In 2011 the Village completed a combined Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory but decided that before proceeding with the designation of Municipal Historic Resources it would be best to have a “recipe” for establishing a successful local heritage conservation program.

Throughout 2012, Village staff and the Holden Heritage Resources Committee will be working with a heritage consultant to develop a plan appropriate to the Village’s needs and objectives. Elements of the plan will include:

  • a template bylaw for Municipal Historic Resource designations;
  • a policy outlining the designation process and eligibility requirements;
  • a terms of reference for the Holden Heritage Resources Committee (i.e. vision, mission);
  • a procedure for reviewing requests to alter Municipal Historic Resources;
  • a review of potential incentives (monetary and non-monetary) that the Village may offer to owners of Municipal Historic Resources; and
  • an assessment of other municipal planning documents to see how heritage might be integrated with land-use and  Village programs and services.

Over the course of this project, the greater community will also be engaged. Feedback from residents will be imperative for ensuring that the Heritage Management Plan appropriately serves the interests of residents and thereby conserves the valued places that make Holden a unique community.

Stay tuned throughout the year for updates on this project!

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Dollars and Sense: MHPP Funding

 

Commercial buildings, recreation facilities, houses, churches, industrial structures and all the fascinating places in between – does your municipality want to learn more about its older buildings, structures and landmarks? The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) provides cost-shared funding opportunities to Alberta municipalities for the identification, evaluation and management of local historic places. MHPP also offers guidance and training to Alberta municipalities to enable the identification and conservation of local historic places.

Funding proposals from municipalities are accepted on an on-going basis. These proposals are then reviewed by the board of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. Funding proposals received:

  • by April 8, 2011 will be reviewed at the May 2011 Board meeting
  • by August 12, 2011 will be reviewed at the September 2011 Board meeting
  • by October 28, 2011 will be reviewed at the December 2011 Board meeting

If you would like to learn more about MHPP funding opportunities, or discuss project ideas please contact MHPP staff.

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation also supports a range of community and individual heritage initiatives through the Heritage Preservation Partnership Program.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer