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Red Deer County Heritage

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County heritage project a first for Alberta

reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley) February 3, 2010

Red Deer County is credited with being the first rural municipality in Alberta to take a systematic approach to identifying its heritage sites and complete a detailed management plan.

County council unanimously approved in principle a Heritage Management Plan on Tuesday that is designed to identify, preserve and protect historical buildings and sites.

Councillor Jim Wood expressed his support for the initiative, which has been in the works for several years. It is a tragedy that some communities have already lost important historical buildings that were torn down, he said.

Bob Buckle, of Heritage Collaborative Inc., said the plan offers a clear process for identifying potential historical sites and judging whether they should receive special designation.

As part of the background work, 88 potential historical sites were surveyed and 27 have been included in an initial inventory.

The main goal for the county is to create a register of municipal historic resources. The county has already designated two sites: the Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Pine Lake, and the Markerville Lutheran Church. A number of other sites, such as the Markerville Creamery and Dickson Store, have been designated by the province as historic resources and could be added to the municipal list.

Local historian Michael Dawe offered his expertise as an informal adviser to the county project and gave the municipality credit for being a provincial leader on the heritage management front.

"I think the County of Red Deer has a long history of showing very strong support for heritage identification and preservation," he said. Dawe said the county is taking a systematic approach to protecting its heritage resources. "They are showing the way for the province, and a very good way to do things. I'm very impressed with what they've been doing."

Taking a step-by-step approach to surveying the sprawling county, identifying potential historic sites and creating a process to review them will create a solid plan, he said.

"It will really pay off for them because as issues come up in the future they have not only done their homework but they've also put in a strong system to ensure that things are dealt with carefully and objectively."

Among the consultant's recommendations is one to create a heritage advisory board. A staff person could also be designated as heritage officer to oversee the plan.

The county could also look at designating historical special zones, for areas such as Markerville, which has three provincial and municipal historic resources.

       News article: Alberta railway stations get a new lease on life (AgCanada Nov.2013)
       News article: Heritage projects share grant funding
(Red Deer Advocate July 2013)
       News article: Benalto Train Station returned to hamlet after lengthy journey
(Sylvan Lake News May 2013)
       News article: Riders welcome train station home to Benalto
(Red Deer Advocate Apr.2013)
       News article: Benalto station move delayed (Red Deer Advocate Mar.2013)
       News article: Benalto train station to return home after 42-year absence
(Sylvan Lake News Feb.2013)
       News article: Former Benalto train station donated back to community (Red Deer Advocate Feb.2013)
       News article: New exhibits call Historical Village home (Innisfail Province May 2010)
       News article: 'Sleeper' village grand opening set
(Red Deer Advocate May 2010)

ACR/CPR Mintlaw Steel Trestle
Railway Icons of Red Deer County
Alberta Central Railway (CPR) - Red Deer to Rocky Mountain House

Michael Dawe articles related to Red Deer County heritage
A look back at the Alberta Central Railway (Red Deer Express Sept.2014)
       Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Region celebrating century of railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Alberta Central Railway helped open region (Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)


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