An Airdrie heritage site has become the community’s first registered Municipal Historic Resource, following a council vote July 2 to proceed with a designation for the 1928 Nose Creek Bridge to the Elevators.
“Council recognizes the importance of capturing our history, making certain we know where and which we came from, and how important it is to our future,” said Mayor Peter Brown. “I can’t wait to enjoy the bridge.”
According to Michael Dougherty, team leader with Community Development, the bridge was originally constructed to provide access to the community’s grain elevators and, to this day, remains a symbol of Airdrie’s history as an agrarian railway town.
In March, council issued a notice of intent to officially designate the site, which initiated a 60-day waiting period before the designation could proceed. But the opportunity to preserve the local landmark was identified in 2018, according to Dougherty.
A capital project request on the site suggested the potential for a restoration project, he said, due to the bridge’s historic interest. A subsequent impact assessment echoed the sentiment, noting the conservation of the site offers an opportunity to “establish and demonstrate a municipal commitment” to protecting Airdrie’s cultural heritage and fostering a sense of community identity and pride. This, he said, is an identified objective of the AirdrieONE sustainability plan, which seeks to “preserve and celebrate” the community’s history through interpretive, design and policy initiatives.
“The clear recommendation is that this is a significant historical resource in Airdrie, and is worthy of protection,” Dougherty said.
Council’s adoption of the designation bylaw, he said, indicates the municipality’s first step in Historic Resource Management – enabling the potential for matching provincial grant funding of up to $50,000.
The bridge is slated to become a part of the Trans-Canada Trail, as per the City’s Parks planning, and future restoration work on the structure must be approved as stipulated in the bylaw – ensuring it conforms to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. Additionally, Dougherty said, the site will be listed on both the Alberta and Canadian Registers of Historic Places.
He added the heritage-based restoration work already in progress will continue, uninterrupted, at the site.
Third reading to endorse the designation was carried unanimously. According to Dougherty, the next step will be for council to pass a Municipal Historic Resource Bylaw.