Rossdale ReGeneration group fights to save historic building

EDMONTON – A community group called ‘Rossdale ReGeneration’ is hoping to save the Rossdale power plant in the hopes of getting the city to repurpose the historic building.

“I think there are all kinds of possibilities,” said Michael Phair, a spokesperson for the group. “There is information to show what’s happened in similar buildings all across the world that have been repurposed and reused.”

The old power plant is one of the most prominent structures in the river valley. However, debate over what to do with the facility has been going on for months at City Hall.

Recently, Heritage Canada listed the Rossdale power plant as one of the top ten endangered heritage sites in Canada for 2013.

The Rossdale power plant was designated as a Provincial Historic Resource in 2001, which prevents the plant’s demolition.

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The power plant – which is owned by EPCOR Utilities Inc. – consists of three structures built between 1931 and 1954: the low pressure plant, the administration building, and pump house No.1.

Alberta’s Minister of Culture Heather Klimchuk has said she plans to honour the designation that protects the building.

Rossdale ReGeneration wants to come up with some innovative proposals to repurpose the plant and keep it as a centerpiece of the river valley district.

“It would be relatively straightforward – if chosen – to have a restaurant/cafe in part of the building,” said Phair. “It’s a huge building.  You could have a number – for example – of commercial offices, you could have some kind of aboriginal centre as part of the building.  It’s really kind of endless what you can do.”

The group has developed a report and recommendations on the plant.

The City will have to consider the historic designation, along with cost, when it debates the future of the facility and possible uses for it.

The Rossdale Power Plant discussion at City Hall has been postponed to August 19th.

With files from Vinesh Pratap

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