City applies to preserve Eau Claire landmark

The City of Calgary has applied to give heritage status to a red smokestack.

The City of Calgary has applied to give heritage status to a red smokestack.

Darryl Cariou, senior heritage planner for the city, said the application seeks to declare the 25-metre-high smokestack in Eau Claire a municipal historic resource, which means it can't be destroyed or moved, even as the area around it is redeveloped.

"I like it. I don't really know what its purpose is," said Jorie Soubiran, who has worked across the street from the smokestack for more than a year. "It kind of gives a little bit of uniqueness to the area."

The brick smokestack, built in 1947, was part of the heating system for the Calgary Transit garage that occupied the site until 1988.

Cariou said the smokestack at Second Avenue and Third Street S.W. is one of only two original structures left in the Eau Claire area, and a unique link to the neighbourhood's industrial past.

"It's not just the mansions that, you know, the old white guys lived in that were important," he told CBC News. "It's the more modest features but it's also the range of resources that include our industrial heritage."

A city committee has unanimously approved the heritage designation recommendation, which now goes before city council.

Nearby Eau Clare Market is slated to be demolished to make way for a hotel, office and restaurants. 

"We've seen the conceptual plans for the site that include a little plaza at the corner that's focused on the smokestack, and eventually we'll see some interpretative material on that site so people … can learn about the smokestack and understand why it's there and why it is important," Cariou said.