Clearwater County creates a future for historic Nordegg townsite

Clearwater County staff, (L-R): Kim Jakowski, Amanda Wilson, Marilyn Sanders, Joe Baker, Rick Eamons

On August 8th I joined five members of Clearwater County’s staff for a visit to the Nordegg townsite, where the County has for many years been laying the foundation for a dynamic rejuvenation of this historic Alberta community. 

In particular, the municipality has recently partnered with the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program to evaluate ten properties of historic interest, five within Nordegg, and five in the surrounding rural areas. Clearwater County was awarded a grant of $12, 500 for this Municipal Heritage Inventory project. 

Nordegg streetscape

More than ten years ago, Joe Baker, the County’s Director for the West Country and Planning Development, got the ball rolling for a future for this once bustling mining community by creating the Nordegg Development Plan. This plan envisioned that new life could emerge within the historic environment which once housed more than 2, 500 people, many of them employed by the Brazeau Colliers mine, which built the townsite.

Now, after considerable planning and infrastructure development at Nordegg, the Townsite is becoming more and more ready

Nordegg sidewalks and light standards

to accommodate new life, both in terms of commercial and residential development. New residential streets have been built, along with sidewalks and light standards.

The historic resources evaluated on Main Street, including the former bank, church, general store and garage, which will anchor and inspire new construction informed by sound principles for new construction in historic districts.

This is an exciting time as historic places can become a value-added catalyst for sustainable growth in rural Alberta.

Written by:Matthew Francis, Manager of Municipal Heritage Services

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