The City of Lacombe was presented with an Award of Merit for its Heritage Preservation Program from the Alberta Professional Planners Institute (APPI) during the Institute’s annual conference in Edmonton on Sept. 17th.
“Our Heritage Management Plan and subsequent implementation strategies, including the demolition assessment process, as well as our public outreach efforts, such as the Lacombe Heritage facebook Page, were highlighted by the APPI as examples of strong heritage planning that can be utilized by other communities,” said City Planner Jennifer Kirchner.
“The Heritage Management Plan allows Lacombe to determine its own heritage goals and helps to preserve heritage structures,” said Planning and Development Manager Lyla Peter. “Since its adoption in June 2013, programming and key elements have been woven through other municipal plans and programs, helping to ensure that the Plan’s goals are implemented through a variety of methods.”
A unique feature of the Heritage Preservation Program was the creation of an innovative assessment process for demolition applications of historic structures 50-plus years of age.
A Historic District Overlay was adopted within the land use bylaw and requires the heritage resources committee to assess demolition applications of historic structures through background research, a site visit and full documentation of the structure. The committee makes a recommendation on the potential demolition to the Municipal Planning Commission which makes a decision on the application.
There is a further requirement for the applicant to advertise the building for salvage, thereby promoting sustainable practices that link to the Municipal Sustainability Plan, while ensuring that unique architectural items and historic building materials may be reclaimed and reused.
City administration and the Heritage Resources Committee have been working to implement the Heritage Management Plan since its adoption.
Some of the successful outcomes include: the establishment of a Historic District Area Overlay, providing guidelines for the salvaging of building materials, detailed assessment and documentation of demolition applications and encouragement of appropriate infill development, the designation of St. Andrew’s United Church and the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop as Lacombe’s first and second municipal historic resources along with a corresponding plaque program and the establishment of the Doors Open program which is on its third year.