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Council to hear proposal to rebuild historical buildings

Council to hear proposal to rebuild historical buildings
Nisbet Church in Kinsmen Park, prior to deconstruction. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The Prince Albert Historical Society is bringing forward a plan to rebuild the old Nisbet Church and Blockhouse near their original locations.

In June 2018, the city deconstructed the buildings and moved them to a storage area in the Old City Yards after the museum couldn’t obtain the $750,000 in grant funding needed to keep them standing. However, society members are bringing forward a proposal at Monday’s executive committee meeting to rebuild the two historical buildings near the museum at an estimated cost of roughly $25,000 per building.

“We are still in the process of getting quotation for some of the work, but we hope to have a better idea of costs when we present this to (council) at the Executive Committee meeting,” read speakers notes from the society, which were included in the agenda packet released on Friday. “To help finance the project, the Historical Society will look for in-kind donations and local sponsorships to offset any costs. We would appreciate any help the City is able to give, recognizing that the City paid to have the buildings dismantled.”

Since the early 1930s, the two buildings have sat in Kinsmen Park, but their original locations lie much further north. According to information from the Bill Smiley Archives, the church was originally located between 10th and 12 Street West and First and Second Avenue West. The Blockhouse was originally on the southwest corner of 12th Street and First Avenue West.

The museum proposes to rebuild both buildings on the north side of River Street, near First Avenue West. Construction would begin in 2019. The society says the new location would allow for more efficient staff. They also plan to put the buildings on concrete pads to further prevent deterioration, while also adding solar power and sturdier roofing. The buildings would then be open in the summer months as an additional museum site.

The church and Blockhouse stood for 85 years in Kinsmen Park, but according to the Historical Society, the last 15 years were particularly hard on them. Rodents, trees and other factors caused significant deterioration, however an engineering assessment in 2017 found that some parts could be preserved.

The proposal is one of three special delegations scheduled to speak at Monday’s meeting. Other speakers include nursing students from the University of Saskatchewan who will talk about the effects of substance misuse, and the introduction of a managed alcohol program at Homeward Bound.