A. Minchau Blacksmith Shop (2018)
Weak legislation and inadequate financial incentives place this Old Strathcona boomtown gem at risk.
Why it matters:
Built in 1925, this one-storey brick industrial building is one of a rapidly dwindling number of boomtown structures in Old Strathcona, a historic district experiencing unprecedented development pressure. The threat of its demolition has spurred a groundswell of support for the modest building, and a city-wide discussion on the need to save the unsung places that make Edmonton special.
Why it’s endangered:
As of May 2018, the City of Edmonton is considering the owner’s request for a demolition permit. City officials negotiated unsuccessfully with the owner for three years to try to incorporate the building into a new development on the site, zoned in 1987 for up to 12 storeys. The City has been hampered by the Alberta Historic Resources Act, which, unlike legislation in most other provinces, requires municipalities to compensate owners for lost development value when it proceeds with heritage designation without the owner’s consent. The City has limited funds to incentivize heritage rehabilitation. There is an urgent need for provincial and federal incentives to encourage heritage projects of this magnitude.