City moves to pro­tect more of its his­tory

Calgary Herald - - City & Region - TER­ENCE LEUNG CAL­GARY HER­ALD

Five Cal­gary build­ings, in­clud­ing the for­mer res­i­dence of wrestling’s fa­mous Hart fam­ily, are in line for his­tor­i­cal des­ig­na­tion.

If al­der­men ap­prove the plan, the his­toric struc­tures would get spe­cial des­ig­na­tion pro­tect­ing them from de­mo­li­tion and ma­jor al­ter­ations.

For a mem­ber of one of Cal­gary’s best-known fam­i­lies, it is en­cour­ag­ing the for­mer Hart House could be saved.

“It sounds like wel­come news to me — if the house gets the ren­o­va­tions and re­pairs it needs and still be pre­served in its orig­i­nal form,” said Ross Hart, the son of leg­endary wrestling icon Stu Hart.

Other build­ings to be des­ig­nated in­clude the McKay House, Pres­i­dent Apart­ments, Nel­lie McClung House and the Cus­toms House.

The pro­posed des­ig­na­tions are part of the city’s ef­forts to pro­tect more of its his­tor­i­cal re­sources.

His­tor­i­cal des­ig­na­tion pre­vents a build­ing from ever be­ing torn down, but it also al­lows own­ers to se­cure fund­ing for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion un­der a mu­nic­i­pal her­itage re­serve fund.

There were 14 mu­nic­i­pal des­ig­na­tions in the city last year, ac­cord­ing to Clint Robert­son, a her­itage plan­ner.

“In the last 10 to 11 months, we’ve in­creased (the num­ber of his­tor­i­cal des­ig­na­tions) 25 per cent, which brings it up to 19 or 20,” said Robert­son.

Robert­son said there’s a list of 15 other build­ings that could re­ceive the des­ig­na­tions.

His­tor­i­cal struc­tures re­cently des­ig­nated in­clude the Eau Claire smoke stack, Hil­lier Square and Fire Hall No. 1.

The move is cheered by his­tory buffs, who have com­plained Cal­gary hasn’t done enough to pro­tect its his­toric build­ings.

“Th­ese build­ings are phys­i­cal an­chors to the his­tory of the city,” said Bob van We­gen of the Cal­gary Her­itage Ini­tia­tive So­ci­ety, who laments the de­mo­li­tion of the Penny Lane build­ing and Cur­tis Block.

If coun­cil ap­proves the plan on July 28, the city will give build­ing own­ers 60 days to re­spond.

If there are no ob­jec­tions, it will go back to coun­cil for fi­nal ap­proval around Novem­ber.

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