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MD compiles heritage structure list

For the first time in the history of the Municipal District of Bighorn, a comprehensive list of the region’s most important heritage structures and sites has been compiled.
St. Bernards Catholic Church in Exshaw has been recognized as an important heritage structure by the MD of Bighorn.
St. Bernards Catholic Church in Exshaw has been recognized as an important heritage structure by the MD of Bighorn.

For the first time in the history of the Municipal District of Bighorn, a comprehensive list of the region’s most important heritage structures and sites has been compiled.

The Municipal District of Bighorn Heritage Inventory, prepared by Canmore and Edmonton-based Heritage Collaborative, lists 21 sites of heritage value in the MD.

Assistant Municipal Manager Greg Birch said the document represents the middle part of a three-phase program that is five years into the six-year project.

The first phase of the project, a heritage survey of the entire 2,664 square kilometre municipality, led to a list of 94 buildings and sites that Birch said were of heritage value to the municipality and its residents.

From that, the list was pared down to the important or significant sites that are profiled in the heritage inventory and could be worthy of municipal heritage status, which is a voluntary program.

“If we had an interest from a landowner saying ‘I think my building or site is worthy of municipal heritage status’ you could consider that,” Birch said.

Now that the survey and heritage inventory are complete, Birch said the Heritage Resources Committee would decide on the next step.

Some of the options include a plaque program and self-guided tours of the heritage places.

Along with a context paper that outlines the history of the MD of Bighorn, the heritage inventory includes a statement of significance for each of the 21 sites.

In the Bow Valley, some of these sites include the Butchart kiln and old slot quarry at Gap, catalogue homes in Exshaw, the Mount Yamnuska dynamite magazine, the original Kananaskis settlement area east of Exshaw and the 1950s renovation of a circa-1920 one-storey house in Harvie Heights that had originally stood in Bankhead.

Council adopted the heritage inventory at its monthly council meeting in February.

The inventory will also assist the MD if council decides to develop a heritage protection management plan.


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