Council approves first heritage designation for Okotoks
The Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) has become the first building in Okotoks to receive heritage designation under Okotoks new Municipal Heritage Designation Program. Council approved the bylaw to designate the former church during its regular meeting August 19.
“Recognizing this beloved community landmark as an historical resource demonstrates how heritage conservation supports the Town of Okotoks vision, including aesthetics, history, culture, economy, tourism, sustainability and the retention and enhancement of Okotoks’ character and unique sense of place,” said Mayor Bill Robertson.
The property’s historical significance is partially due to its being the setting for the one of the first United Church congregations in Canada, which was created when the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations merged. This occurred in 1917, eight years before Methodist and Presbyterian churches formally amalgamated across Canada.
The church’s irregular design, steeply pitched roof, bell tower, and location also contribute to its historical value.
Municipal Heritage Designation status enables the building owner to access provincial funding through Historic Resource Conservation grants to maintain the property’s character-defining elements. Although no repairs are currently needed at the RPAC, any future repairs or renovations must consider Parks Canada’s guidelines for conserving heritage places. A plaque, recognizing its heritage designation, will be installed at the centre.
The Town is currently exploring an additional 15 sites that may have potential for heritage designation including Old Macleod Trail and the Okotoks Art Gallery at the Station.
Anyone interested in exploring the possibility and process for designating a privately-owned property can contact Allan Boss at 403.995.2776.