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Updated Heritage Management Plan expands scope for future

Historic places are important to our understanding of who we are and where we came from. They also contribute to our quality of life and our economy.

Lethbridge/Sikóóhkotok is home to nearly 30 Municipal Historic Resources, more than a dozen Provincial Historic Resources, four National Historic Events, one National Historic Person and more than 100 archaeological sites.

The City of Lethbridge Heritage Management Plan (HMP) was developed in 2007 to establish a framework for the City to protect Lethbridge's diverse Historic Places now and for the future. Lethbridge City Council recently voted unanimously to approve an updated 2023 HMP with several key updates.

The new version was updated primarily to include Indigenous heritage and greater consideration for cultural landscapes, districts and areas, as well as to better include other under-represented stories such as women, racial and ethnic minorities, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples.

The full 126-page Heritage Management Plan can be viewed here.

The previous HMP was also outdated in that it does not reflect the City's heritage program as it exists today, as much evolution has taken place in the past 15 years.

"The updated HMP accurately reflects how the City's heritage program functions today, while laying the groundwork for a new chapter in its evolution," says Ross Kilgour, Senior Community Planner and Project Manager for the HMP. "This project contributes to the management and celebration of Lethbridge's heritage. It also contributes to the City's Reconciliation goals and the continued building of relationships with our Indigenous partners."

This is the City's first HMP to include consideration for Indigenous heritage sites located within Lethbridge/Sikóóhkotok. While there remains much work to be done in partnering with the Blackfoot Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta - Lethbridge and Area on their heritage sites, the City is committed to working together.

The City's Reconciliation Implementation Plan (2017) identified that Indigenous heritage sites were not considered or included in the HMP, and recommended it be updated accordingly. This updated HMP sets goals and objectives for the City's heritage program, provides context on the statutory and regulatory environment around the City's heritage program, formalizes processes by which the City will continue to seek to identify, recognize, preserve and celebrate Historic Places within Lethbridge, and offers an overview of Lethbridge's heritage context.

"The HMP should be viewed as a living document, and as this partnership work continues, further updates will likely be required," says Kilgour.

Feedback from Council was incorporated into the HMP throughout the updating process. Administration also received detailed comments from the Consultation Departments of the Kainai, Piikani and Siksika Nations, as well as the Métis Nation of Alberta – Lethbridge and Area. Public engagement was subsequently carried out via, where the draft HMP was posted for two weeks with an invitation for public feedback, and via the Community Conversation event at the ENMAX Centre on January 18. Public reception was positive.

More information on the City's Historic Building Preservation and Heritage Management can be viewed here.

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