Provincial Historic Resource Designation
Section 20 of the Historical Resources Act (R.S.A. 2000) empowers the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit to designate and protect Provincial Historic Resources. To qualify for this level of designation, historic places must normally:
- be associated with an important aspect of Alberta's natural or human history,
- be of outstanding provincial significance,
- be situated in their original location, and
- retain the physical site features necessary to convey their significance.
Alberta possesses a rich and diverse collection of Provincial Historic Resources that includes medicine wheels, tipi rings, fur trading and mounted police posts, coal mines, farmsteads, ranches, railway stations, grain elevators, churches, schools, government offices, commercial blocks and private residences.
Owners of Provincial Historic Resources are obligated under the Historical Resources Act to be good stewards of their heritage properties. No person can destroy, disturb, alter, restore, repair or remove any historic objects from a Provincial Historic Resource without approval in writing from the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit. However, Provincial Historic Resources can be and often are altered for a number of valid reasons if such actions do not disturb or destroy the significant heritage fabric of the site. Owners of Provincial Historic Resources should discuss any proposed interventions to their site with Alberta Culture and Community Spirit staff before submitting a formal request to the Minister.
In order to protect and promote Provincial Historic Resources, the Historic Resources Management Branch offers owners of these sites a number of incentives, including:
- eligibility for matching funds from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation based on the size/scale of the historic resource and scope of the proposed conservation work,
- access to the technical expertise of Heritage Conservation Advisors, who can ensure that conservation work is carried out in a manner that considers both owners' needs and resource sensitivity,
- promotion of the site for tourist and/or educational purposes through placement on the Alberta Register of Historic Places and possible placement on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, and
- identification of the site as a Provincial Historic Resource through a plaque which communicates both the significance of the historic place and the owner's interest in the preservation of Alberta's heritage.
The designation of Alberta's most significant historic places as Provincial Historic Resources ensures that these sites will be sensitively and responsibly administered and remain cultural treasures for future generations.
PROCESS FOR DESIGNATING A PROVINCIAL HISTORIC RESOURCE
- Completion of an Application for Historic Resource Designation
- An individual or group contacts the Head of Alberta's Historic Places Research and Designation Program regarding the possible designation of a site as a Provincial Historic Resource.
- The Office of Alberta's Historic Places Designation Program responds with an information package that includes an application form, a summary of the evaluation process, and a guide to conducting local history.
- The applicant completes the application and returns it to the Head of Alberta's Historic Places Research and Designation Program.
- Evaluation to determine if the site merits designation as a Provincial Historic Resource
- Based upon the information provided in the application form and an inspection of the resource by branch staff, the significance and physical integrity of the site are evaluated to determine if it meets the criteria for Provincial Historic Resource designation.
- The results of the evaluation are referred to the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Heritage Division for consideration.
- Confirmation of support for designation as a Provincial Historic Resource
- If the Assistant Deputy Minister agrees with the recommendation to designate the site as a Provincial Historic Resource, letters are sent to both the site owner and the area MLA to confirm that they support the proposed designation.
- Notice of Intention to Designate a Provincial Historic Resource
- Once owner and MLA support for designation has been confirmed, a Notice of Intention to Designate is served to the owner and published in the Alberta Gazette.
- The Notice of Intention contains a clear explanation of the legal implications of designating the site as a Provincial Historic Resource. For 30 days following the delivery of the Notice to the site owner and its publication in the Alberta Gazette, anyone wishing to make a representation regarding the designation may so advise the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation by writing to the Foundation's Executive Director. At the conclusion of the 30-day period, the Foundation will fix a date for the hearing of all representations and will notify all who have indicated their intention to make representations.
- If no representations are made, then after the expiry of 60 days from the date that the Notice is served to the site owner and published in the Alberta Gazette, a formal Designation Order is prepared for consideration by the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit.
- Order Designating a Provincial Historic Resource
- If the Minister agrees with the recommendation to designate the resource, the Order Designating a Provincial Historic Resource is signed.
- A copy of the Order is immediately served to the owner.
- An original or certified copy of the Order is also registered on the Certificate of Title with the appropriate Alberta Land Titles office.
- The Order is published in the Alberta Gazette.
- A Provincial Historic Resource plaque is sent to the owner.
- Listing on the Alberta and Canadian Registers of Historic Places
- The resource is listed on the Alberta Register of Historic Places. If the resource is eligible, it will be submitted for listing on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
The Historical Resources Act empowers the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit to designate any historic resource as a Provincial Historic Resource, if its preservation is in the public interest. Designation serves to recognize the significance of historical resources and provide them with the protection necessary to ensure their preservation. Historic resources eligible for consideration by the Minister for designation include structures, archaeological sites, palaeontological resources and other works of humans or nature that are of value for their historic, cultural, natural, scientific or aesthetic interest. Currently, there are almost 300 sites protected as Provincial Historic Resources in Alberta.
Through the Provincial Designation Program, owners of historic resources and/or other interested parties may submit an application to have a site evaluated for possible historic resource designation. The information provided by the applicant is evaluated by the Historic Resources Management Branch to determine if the site meets the department's criteria, in which case a recommendation to proceed with designation is made to the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit. When a structure is designated, the property on which it rests is generally afforded the same measure of legal protection. Provincial Historic Resources are eligible to be considered for financial assistance from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation for work towards their restoration and preservation.
For further information on designation, contact the Head, Historic Places Designation Program.
Designation Application Size: 252 KB