Funding for historic restorations drying up, City discussing next moves
CTV News Edmonton
Published Friday, October 4, 2019 8:28PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 4, 2019 9:42PM MDT
The City is discussing its options after a recent influx in historic designations has strained the funding that is available to restore such buildings.
Currently, about $2 million is set aside annually for restoration grants for Edmonton buildings with historic designation.
But although the City has been setting aside tax dollars for such projects for more than 20 years, current projections show the reserve's balance will dip to about $300,000 by the end of 2020.
"Multimillion dollar requests stack up fairly quickly, and it will create a scenario I think where there's some unsustainability for the program going forward," said Dan Rose, senior communications advisor of the Edmonton Historical Board.
He added, "I think it's a fantastic problem to have… The City of Edmonton, we're on track to have almost 200 designated municipal historic resources."
The City of Edmonton designates about seven buildings a year as historic resources.
According to Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, a smaller reserve will likely mean applicants will have to wait longer.
"We'll probably have to top up the reserve, but we're also hitting the reality that we can't save every building that we'd like to," Iveson said.
City staff suggested on Friday temporarilyy capping grants at $500,000, and halting handouts to city-owned resources, like the Rossdale Power Plant in 2020.
The plan would allow the financial reserve to bounce back, staff said.
"Really it's about creating a structure that's in place to make sure we can still save the best bits of what we have, and what we need to save," Rose told CTV News Edmonton.
With a report from Jeremy Thompson