By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Town of Morinville is looking for property owners and residents to come forward with information on historical buildings in town. The identification and research is part of the Coeur de Morinville Area Structure Plan (ASP) currently under way within Morinville’s Planning and Development Department. The plan deals with Morinville’s downtown core and future development in it. A component of that plan is the inclusion of a Heritage Preservation Guideline that would help to ensure historical buildings remain to preserve the community’s heritage. The guideline would also contain information to assist owners of historical buildings in securing grants to preserve their properties.
“We’ve narrowed down a list of all the properties that are just basically old,” Vrooman said. “We’ve gone through our assessment data and found a good cut off year to be prior to 1930. We’ve identified 40 or 50 buildings in town that fall into that category.”
Vrooman said the Town is looking to identify any historical or architectural significance that exist with the properties on the list. The information will be compiled into a survey document that will help identify which properties are worth keeping as historical buildings. “There is an option of having it registered as a Municipal Heritage resource,” Vrooman said, noting funding is available to help property owners who wish to pursue that avenue. “That’s later on down the road. Now we are just identifying properties the Town would like to see preserved.”
The planner said research on the existing historical buildings is being conducted by the Town and the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society. However, he is quick to point out there are no strings attached to the call for historical properties. “It doesn’t obligate them [property owners] to do anything. It doesn’t affect them in any way,” he said. “We’re just doing a survey. We just want to know what’s in the ground.”
The Town of Morinville is targeting pre-1930 buildings because the Great Depression era saw a halt to building in Morinville. Construction seems to have resumed during World War II and in the post-war years. Buildings being sought would include those that have some history behind them with respect to community pioneers. Current condition is not as important as the story behind the building. A home that may seem simply an old home may have been the home to a past mayor or other founding member of the community.
Vrooman said once the survey information is compiled, an evaluation criteria will be created to determine which of Morinville’s pre-1930 buildings are ones the Town would like to see preserved.
Those wishing to participate in the process can send their information to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Heritage Survey Property Questionnaire can be found online at www.morinville.ca/heritage.