BY MARK WEBER
Lacombe City council passed a resolution to designate the Young Residence, located at 5450 – 49th Ave. as a residential Municipal Historic Resource during Monday night’s regular meeting.
“The designation of the Young Residence as a Municipal Historic Resource demonstrates Council’s clear commitment to follow through on its strategic plan goals to preserve and protect our community’s heritage,” said Councillor Peter Bouwsema.
According to a release, once a building or site is designated as a Municipal Historic Resource, that building or site will be preserved and protected. Any alterations must be approved by the council-appointed Heritage Resources Committee through a formal application process.
“Through the designation of buildings as municipal historic resources, the City of Lacombe is able to ensure that examples of different building styles will be protected for future generations to enjoy,” said Planner Jennifer Kirchner. “The Young Residence is an example of a modest Post World War II bungalow that would have housed the average Lacombe family in the 1950s.”
Also according to council notes, the house was built circa 1948 for Ormiston and Margret Young and its ownership has continued to remain in the family.
Councillor Grant Harder expressed some doubts as to the designation for the house, and explained that he was concerned about the number of homes that are potentially eligible to become municipal heritage resources in the future.
“If you forecast 15 years from now, the entire subdivision of Woodlands will be eligible to make application to become historic resources,” he said, adding that at some point, potentially every second house in Lacombe could become a municipal heritage resource.
“It just seems to me that we are opening the door to a whole avalanche of applications over the next 10 to 15 years of homes – some may very well warrant designation and some certainly will not,” he said. “I’m just not certain how this whole program will wash out in the long haul.”
Kirchner said in other communities, that hasn’t proven to be an issue. “When the committee assesses buildings for designation, they create a statement of significance and that is really to determine if there is value, and not every building will have (that) value. You have to prove how it’s important to the community, if it’s a specific example of an architectural style that is really different, if it’s the last remaining architectural style of its kind in the community.
“So there’s a number of things that the committee looks at to determine if it’s a good example to designate,” she said. As to specific neighbourhoods that eventually come due for possible designation, there may be a couple of key examples that would be appropriate to designate as municipal heritate resources.
“It’s a matter of choosing those best examples that reflect the uniqueness of our community.”
Since 2009, the City has worked toward documenting heritage resources in the community, through the creation of a Municipal Heritage Survey and a Municipal Heritage Inventory.
Council also gave first reading for the Kanngiesser Building and the Michener House as well in terms of gaining Municipal Historic Resource status.
This past January, the owner of the Kanngiesser Building submitted an application to designate the site as a Municipal Historic Resource.
According to council notes, the building was constructed in 1907 as part of the triangular flatiron block and has a long history as a department and clothing store.
“The building is also noted for its yellow brick with red mortar construction, which is distinct from the traditional red brick found in our commercial core. The Kanngiesser family has owned this building since 1957 and their name has become deeply connected to the building in the eyes of Lacombe and area residents.”
Finally, in March, the Lacombe and District Historical Society submitted an application to designate the Michener House site as a Municipal Historic Resource.
The original building was constructed in 1894 and served as a manse to the Grace Methodist Church until 1922.
The Michener House is the oldest remaining documented building in Lacombe and is an example of early residential architecture in the City of Lacombe.