Heritage strategy in works for Calgary

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Heritage strategy in works for Calgary

Postby newsposter » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:35 am

Heritage strategy in works
Image of Calgary bulldozing history slowly changing

David Bly
Calgary Herald

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Calgary will become a leader in guarding its heritage, if the city's senior heritage planner has his way.

"We want to be a place that's different," said Darryl Cariou. "One of our goals is to be leading in Canada and North America in the management of heritage resources."

That goal came a step closer when the city hired another heritage planner to work with Cariou.

David Plouffe, 40, will focus on developing the city's heritage resources management plan.

"David will be chained to his desk for the next 18 months" shaping the plan and putting flesh on the basic plan approved by city council, said Cariou.

The Edmonton-born Plouffe spent eight years as the public programs officer for the Vancouver Museum. Cariou said Plouffe's experience in planning and directing programs will be valuable as Calgary's heritage management plan becomes more concrete.

Plouffe said heritage is not something confined to museums and archives.

He said this was brought home to him his first day on the job at the Vancouver Museum.

"My boss gave me the tour and showed me all the artifacts," he said. "And then she said, 'But there's our most important artifact,' pointing out the window to the city.

"Heritage isn't this entity confined to one little silo -- it's integrated throughout the community."

Cariou said the hiring of an additional heritage planner is one sign of city council's commitment to managing Calgary's heritage resources.

As Calgary grew explosively through the 1970s and into the early 1980s, it acquired a reputation for destroying its built heritage.

That is changing, said Cariou, with city council becoming more concerned about heritage.

The watershed, he said, was the demolition of the 93-year-old St. Mary's School in 2002. Although efforts to save the school failed, the loss of the school emphasized the need for a comprehensive heritage resources plan.

Cariou said when he came to Calgary about 21/2 years ago, the city's plan was piecemeal, but now the aldermen want a solid, effective plan.

He gave credit to aldermen who championed the cause of heritage, notably Diane Colley-Urquhart, Madeleine King and Linda Fox-Mellway.

He said consciousness of heritage is growing throughout the city.

"It's not only city council," he said. "The Calgary Heritage Authority is reinvigorated and showing new energy."

Developers, he said, are less prone to bulldoze and are more receptive to incorporating heritage buildings in their projects.


© The Calgary Herald 2006
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