Attention MHPP Applicants!


Though I can’t imagine what could be more riveting than reading about administrative procedure, I’ve been told that some people might not feel the same way. So since not all our blog posts can be nail biters I will have to ask folks to bear with me on this one. This post might be a bit dry but it does include important information about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) for interested applicants.

Those of you who have applied for Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) funding for a survey, inventory or management plan in the past will likely have visited the MHPP website to obtain information about the grant categories, funding parameters and suggested application information. I am pleased to report that we now have all the information necessary to put together your MHPP grant application available as a Guideline document. This handy reference outlines the three grant categories and details the policy and procedures around the funding process, including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, in-kind contributions and timelines as well as an application checklist. You can access a copy by clicking here.

I encourage those of you looking to apply under one of the MHPP grant categories to use the Guidelines as a point of reference. Here is a summary of the highlights:

  • Applicants must be municipal governments
  • There are no application deadlines – applications will be presented at the next applicable quarterly meeting of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation for consideration
  • The decision on the grant application will be made by the Alberta Historical Resource Foundation
  • Funds are allocated through a grant agreement between the municipality and the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
  • Payment is issued over the course of the project as outlined in the grant agreement and is payable upon receipt of an invoice from the municipality
  • The municipality must contribute a minimum of 50 percent of the project costs, of which half may be in-kind contributions
  • In-kind contributions include volunteer time, staff time, donated professional services and materials, office space, use of telephone/fax/computer/internet services, donated materials and supplies
  • Final reporting requirements will be outlined in the grant agreement

Please contact Matthew, Michael or myself with any questions you may have about the MHPP grant application process. For those of you who actually read this far, well done! If it weren’t for Internet copyright issues I would reward you with a picture of an adorable puppy.

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Fort Saskatchewan Approves Historic Precinct Site Master Plan

The City of Fort Saskatchewan is one step closer to realizing their vision for the development and interpretation of a significant community amenity through Council’s recent approval of the Historic Precinct Site Master Plan Guiding Document. Located adjacent to the City’s downtown and along the edge of the North Saskatchewan River, the Historic Precinct provides a unique opportunity to showcase the cultural history of Fort Saskatchewan and to develop a space for public learning and enjoyment.

Historic Precinct Area
Historic Precinct Area

The Approach

The Historic Precinct contains an array of man-made and natural elements that contribute to the telling of the story of Fort Saskatchewan. Project consultants EIDOS Consultants Inc. and Marshall Tittemore Architects approached the conceptualization of the space as a cultural landscape, wherein:

“An important part of the Precinct’s heritage value is found in the relics of law and order and public works, including buildings, structures, sightlines, earth mounds, plant materials and features that remain in situ. These relics constitute part of the heritage value of the area by providing tangible evidence of how it was transformed and used by the NWMP, Canadian Northern Railway, the Province and the City.” (Historic Precinct Site Master Plan, page 9).

The planning process sought to integrate local values into the final plan and therefore included public and stakeholder consultation through surveys, open houses and workshop sessions.

The City of Fort Saskatchewan’s Diane Yanch, Culture & Historic Precinct Supervisor and Richard Gagnon, Director of Culture Services display a copy of the completed Historic Precinct Master Plan
The City of Fort Saskatchewan’s Diane Yanch, Culture & Historic Precinct Supervisor and Richard Gagnon, Director of Culture Services display a copy of the completed Historic Precinct Master Plan

The Master Plan

The Master Plan involved considering the long-term development and interpretation of the historic precinct, including integration of existing Provincial Historic Resources, recommendations for pedestrian circulation and way-finding, interpretation opportunities and development of a conceptual design for a new Interpretive Centre. A detailed phasing plan was also provided to allow the City to structure implementation in a coordinated and cost-effective manner.

Historic Precinct Site Master Plan
Historic Precinct Site Master Plan

The uniqueness of the site is exemplified by the existence of three Provincial Historic Resources within its boundaries including the North West Mounted Police Post, the Fort Saskatchewan Museum (Courthouse), and the Canadian Northern Railway Station. These three historic resources are proposed to be key elements in the interpretation and programming of the Historic Precinct and are considered as Historic Precinct Nodes in the Master Plan.

  • Original 1875 Fort Site Node – This Provincial Historic Resource is presently an open native grass field and will remain untouched during development, with the long term goal of undertaking small scale research and public archaeology programs in partnership with interested academic institutions, archaeological societies and the Province of Alberta.
  •  Fort Saskatchewan Museum and Cultural Village Node – The Fort Saskatchewan Museum (Courthouse) is a designated Provincial Historic Resource. The Master Plan calls for the land surrounding the Courthouse to be utilized as a ‘cultural village’ in which historic buildings and artifacts will be displayed.
  •  Railway Node – The CNR Station will continue to be space for use by community groups. The area around the Station will be enhanced to include an opportunity to showcase other rail infrastructure, landscaping and opportunity to enhance access to the adjacent Legacy Park and farmer’s market plaza.

Other Historic Precinct Nodes proposed within the plan include a Gaol Node, Religion Node, MétisNode and First Nations Node.

Next Steps

The City will continue with planning the programming for the future Interpretive Centre with hopes of breaking ground by the end of 2014. Conservation Plans have been prepared for the Courthouse/Museum and CNR Railway Station to ensure that on-going improvements and maintenance are consistent with accepted conservation practices. In accordance with the terms of designation, approvals will be obtained for any projects within the site that will affect the Provincial Historic Resources as well as work in the vicinity of the NWMP Police Post due to the high archaeological potential of the site.

Proposed General Concept Design of the Interpretive Centre
Proposed General Concept Design of the Interpretive Centre

The Historic Precinct Master Plan was partially funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation under the Heritage Management Plan grant category of the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program. Though Heritage Management Plans typically take the form of a document that outlines policy and a process for municipal designation, the grant category is flexible and can apply to projects that involve planning and policy development for the stewardship of historic resources more broadly. The Historic Precinct Site Master Plan is an example of how the program can be tailored to meet the unique needs of municipalities.

Written by: Rebecca Goodenough, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Municipal Heritage Partnership Program Grants

Helping Alberta’s municipalities identify, evaluate and manage locally significant historic places.

Alberta’s municipalities are now working on plans and budgets for 2014. I’d like to remind municipal stakeholders responsible for heritage about the grant programs offered through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation).

The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program offers three types of grants to help municipalities conserve locally significance historic places.

A municipality can apply for funding to complete a heritage survey. A survey gathers basic information about a municipality’s potential historic places. There are many articles on RETROactive describing survey projects municipalities have undertaken using these grants.

A municipality can also apply for funding to inventory historic resources. An inventory lists places that are locally significant, evaluates them to decide exactly why they are significant and creates the documentation needed to designate these as Municipal Historic Resources. You can also peruse RETROactive posts on municipal inventory projects that our partner municipalities have worked on.

A municipality can also apply for funding to develop a heritage management plan. A management plan helps the municipality conserve significant historic places, the highlight of which is policy on the designation of Municipal Historic Resources. You can read about different municipal heritage management plans on RETORactive as well.

The grant application consists of a written project proposal, which must include a budget. The foundation may award a grant that can cover up to half the cost of the project, up to certain maximum amounts.

M.D. or County City Town Village
Survey $30 000 $30 000 $20 000 $10 000
Inventory $30 000 $30 000 $20 000 $10 000
Management Plan $20 000 $20 000 $15 000 $7 500

The next grant deadline will be early in 2014, but it’s never too early to begin planning a project. You can learn more about the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grant program by visiting the cost sharing page on the website.

If you’re thinking of undertaking a heritage conservation project, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you plan your next project.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer.

Vulcan goes where few municipalities have gone before

Vulcan has developed a plan

Vulcan County, the Town of Vulcan and the Village of Champion are once again working together (you might even say they’ve federated) to conserve their shared heritage. With the aid of a Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grant, they will create a heritage management plan over the next year.

Dedicated readers may recall that these three communities (along with the Villages of Carmangay and Milo) surveyed and inventoried several historic resources last year. They identified several places of interest—sites that warrant further evaluation due to their probable historical or architectural significance. Vulcan’s HAB has already confirmed that many of are significance—that is, they somehow physically embody some aspect of Vulcan’s history.

Knowing that they have several sites that are significance and have integrity, the Vulcanites have turned their attention to figuring out how to protect their locally significant historic resources. That is why they have chosen to develop a heritage management plan. During the next year, they will develop a policy and process to designate locally significant historic resources. Many locally significant sites will be designated as Municipal Historic Resources.

The management plan will lay out the application process and how each municipality will decide what to designate. This will include determining what types of sites they will designate, how the consent of the owner (to designation) will be obtained how the public will be consulted. It will ensure that each proposed designation will be evaluated for historical or architectural significance. This significance will be written down as a statement of significance.

The management plan will also lay out how permits to alter a Municipal Historic Resources will be processed. This involves creating an application process. A proposal to alter a site should describe what is being proposed and why. The municipality then needs to evaluate the proposed change using the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The plan will identify who will process these permits and propose a means of training these agents in the use of the Standards and Guidelines.

The final step will involve exploring what incentives each municipality could offer to encourage the owners of Municipal Historic Resources to conserve them. A successful municipal heritage conservation programs recognizes the need to assist the owner of historic places with the cost of their conservation. The incentive could be grants or tax credits. Any program or service that defrays the cost of operating a property work as incentives too. (You can read Managing Historic Places: Protection and Stewardship of Your Local Heritage for more on heritage management planning).

I’m looking forward to working with Vulcan on this project. When it is done, they will join a select few communities that have completed a survey, inventory and management plan with our assistance. The Vulcans will soon be well poised to protect and conserve their historic places and we’ll all be richer for it.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Managing Lacombe’s Heritage

I had the pleasure of attending the City of Lacombe’s Heritage Open House on February 28th. The city presented a draft of their heritage management plan for community perusal and input. The event was hosted by Lacombe’s Heritage Preservation Program at the beautiful St. Andrew’s United Church hall. People started arriving from the moment the doors opened and kept coming until the end, asking great questions about Lacombe’s Heritage Preservation Program. The turnout was wonderful. You can read a bit more about the event itself at the City of Lacombe’s blog.

City of Lacombe, Heritage Management Plan Open House - 20130228-00010Lacombe’s Heritage Management Plan will ensure that locally significant historic resources are identified, protected and systematically conserved. Under the plan, the Lacombe Heritage Steering Committee will continue to revise and update the municipal heritage inventory begun in spring of 2011. The city will soon be able to protect locally significant historic places using new policies governing the designation of Municipal Historic Resources. The final elements will be the plan to evaluate changes to designated resources to insure they retain their heritage value.

The plan will be complete and finalized in the coming months. We’ll bring you more information on the plan when it’s complete. The City of Lacombe can soon begin designating its first Municipal Historic Resources. Stay tuned.

For those who are interested in Lacombe’s heritage, you may wish to check out their facebook page: I ♥ Lacombe Heritage.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Managing Heritage: the City of St. Albert’s new plan

Heritage Management Plan Final Feb 2013_Page_01Over the past year, Municipal Heritage Services staff collaborated with City of St. Albert staff and the St. Albert Arts and Heritage Foundation on developing a municipal heritage management plan. A grant from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, through the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program, partially funded the planning process.

The City of St. Albert Heritage Management Plan includes many objectives. A few key elements of the plan include:

  • a list of strategies and objectives for sustaining a successful heritage program in St. Albert, including the appointment of a heritage advisory board for community members to advise the council;
  • it complements existing civic plans including the Municipal Development Plan, the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan, the Cultural Master Plan and the Tourism Master Plan;
  • provides a process to add new qualifying places to the St. Albert Heritage Inventory; and
  • includes a process for nominating sites on the inventory for designation as Municipal Historic Resources, among other protective strategies.

The plan also includes a provision to establish a reserve fund that can be used to help finance conservation work on Municipal Historic Resources and for raising public awareness of St. Albert’s heritage.

We are excited to see St. Albert implement the plan over the next decade. If you’d like to discuss the possibility of developing a heritage management plan for your community feel free to contact MHPP staff.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

Prior Preparation and Planning

Municipal Heritage Planning in the Village of Holden

Members of the Holden Heritage Resources Committee at the 2011 Municipal Heritage Forum

In 2011 the Village completed a combined Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory but decided that before designating any Municipal Historic Resources it would be best to develop a “recipe” for a successful local heritage conservation program. In January of 2012, the Village of Holden began work on the plan. Village staff and the Holden Heritage Resources Committee, with the services of a heritage consultant, have developed a draft plan appropriate to the Village’s needs and objectives. Elements of the plan include:

  • a policy outlining the designation process and eligibility requirements;
  • a procedure for reviewing requests to alter Municipal Historic Resources; and
  • a template bylaw for Municipal Historic Resource designations.

On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 the Village hosted on open house, inviting the owners of properties that had been documented and evaluated in the Municipal Heritage Survey and Inventory project, and any other interested residents. The attendance numbers and interest exhibited revealed an engaged community. Congratulations on a successful open house!

Cost-shared funding assistance for this project was provided by the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (Alberta Historical Resources Foundation). If your municipality is interested in developing a municipal heritage conservation program please contact Municipal Heritage Services. 

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer