Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bylaw to designate Lebel Mansion a Municipal Historic Resource passes first reading

Lebel Mansion
C. Davis file photo
Toni Lucas

First reading of Bylaw 1614-14 to designate Lebel Mansion at 696 Kettles Street a Municipal Historic Resource (MHR) passed unanimously at the regular meeting of Pincher Creek's Town Council held on May 26.

Since 1976 the Lebel Mansion has been designated as a Registered Historic Resource.  It was purchased by the Town of Pincher Creek in 1985 and is currently home to the Pincher Creek Allied Arts Council.  Properties designated as a MHR are eligible to receive up to $50,000 per year for conservation work, and up to $25,000 for architectural or engineering services, studies, and reports.

The Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP) helps municipalities to manage their historic properties, and offers guidance, expertise, and some funding. MHPP has recommended a 60 day notice period to advise the public of the intention to pass a bylaw to designate Lebel Mansion as a MHR. To date, the town administration reports that they have received no comments regarding the matter.

"The Lebel Mansion is an important focal point for our town, there is no question about that," said Councillor Doug Thornton, who expressed concerns that there could be no changes to the structure itself without contact to the governing body, and the concern of the upcoming costs of repair and maintenance on the building itself. "I would like to have some idea going into the future on how many dollars, at least into the foreseeable future, may we be liable to spend on Lebel Mansion?"

In 2008 steps were taken to have the Lebel Mansion designated as a Provincial Historic Resource. At that point in time it was not considered to have a province wide significance.

"If we do sell it in the future, it prevents anyone from going in and bulldozing it, there is that protection on that building, and it will be registered as a caveat on the title," said Councillor Tammy Rubbelke. Under the current designation as a Registered Historic Resource the building could be significantly altered or destroyed with a 90 day notice.

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