Blackfalds receives funding to complete historical project

An iconic home in Blackfalds will be relocated and converted into the new centre for the Blackfalds Historical Society

An iconic Eaton Home in Blackfalds will be relocated and converted into the new centre for the Blackfalds Historical Society thanks to a Canadian government grant.

Through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program – shortened to the Canada 150 Fund – the Town of Blackfalds received $175,275 to complete the project, including restoration. The Canada 150 Fund is being used across the country to complete projects in communities before the 150th birthday of the nation.

Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins joined Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol, members of the Historical Society and various community members for the announcement on July 30th.

“When this ‘150’ grant became available, we thought this would be the ideal project to apply for. It is a celebration grant for the birthday of 150 years of Canada. We felt a historical project was the best fit for this grant, and applied for it and we have been successful,” said Stol.

“We can now move the Wadey House off of the developer-owned land and we will move it somewhere where the community can enjoy it. That project includes the work of moving the house and the restoration aspect that should take place in 2016. We have to meet requirements that the project be finished in 2017, in time for Canada’s 150th birthday.”

The historic home is from an Eaton Catalogue and was brought to the community in 1911. Houses could be ordered – complete with beams, boards and nails – and shipped via train to various communities around the country. Not many of these homes are still standing, so the town is pleased to be able to utilize the structure.

The home will be relocated somewhere between Iron Ridge Junior Campus and All-Star Park, in a corridor of available land. The building will be delicately restored and transformed into the new home of the Blackfalds Historical Society.

“It’s been on the radar of the Historical Society for at least the last 12 years. That piece of land has been sold and re-sold and every time it’s been sold to a new owner, and they all want to develop it,” Stol explained.

“Judy Carleton and the Historical Society of the Town have spoken to the owners saying, ‘We know you probably want to clear the land but we would like the house.’

“And every single owner said, ‘Absolutely’, but it’s always been an issue of the cost of moving the house and finding a new place for it.

“There are a lot of costs to moving it properly so it’s preserved.”

The Town is currently working on a Community Facility Needs Assessment. The findings of this assessment should be analyzed in the fall and Stol said this is when they will be able to provide an exact location for the home.

“We’re very pleased that the project was approved. This is a grant that is being dished out around Canada so that everybody is ready in time for the 150th anniversary. It’s nice to see that Central Alberta has been recognized – I understand that Clive received some money as well,” Stol said.

“It’s nice that these smaller community projects can get finished, because these are often the projects that seem to get put aside. There’s always another priority. Receiving this funding means that not only is Blackfalds a priority in the grand scheme of things, but also this historical project gets to become priority for the community. It tied in so well with the theme of the 150 program.”

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com