Historic designation stands in way of Rossdale demolition

The fate of the Rossdale power plant now sits with the provincial government.

Rossdale power plant future

9 years ago
Duration 1:48
The high cost of refurbishing the Rossdale power plant could mean the buildings are demolished

The fate of the Rossdale power plant now sits with the provincial government which may soon be asked to rescind the site's historic designation to clear the way for a demolition.

The decommissioned EPCOR power plant and two smaller pump houses received the designation from the province in 2001. 

However, the city has recently learned that it would cost $7.4 million to stabilize the structures.

The full cost of making the buildings usable for commercial purposes is estimated at $87 million, which has led city politicians to question whether they are worth saving.

Donna Clare, an architect with the firm that reviewed the structures, believes they could be transformed into an attraction with shops and restaurants like Vancouver’s Granville Island.

But Mayor Stephen Mandel said that would be a costly prospect as the buildings have no heat, electrical or mechanical systems.

The city asked EPCOR to request that the province rescind the historic designation to clear the way for a possible demolition.

Matthew Wangler from Alberta Culture said the buildings are a local landmark that have value to the rest of Alberta. He said the province's preference is that the structures be adapted for a new use.

"We have here a very unique piece of history," he said. "The great concern that I have is that this might get torn down and nothing would develop here for quite some time."

Alberta Culture has yet to receive a request from EPCOR.

If it happens, it would be the first time the province was asked to remove a historic designation from a building that wasn’t already partially destroyed.