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One of the province's oldest churches may see provincial heritage designation

Battleford taking steps to designate Old St. Vital Church, which at one point faced demolition, at the provincial level.
The old St. Vital Church as of Sept 5, 2023 as the final renovations finish

BATTLEFORD — The council of the Town of Battleford unanimously has voted to look into having the Old St. Vital church on Central Avenue designated as a provincial heritage property. 

This comes after renovations on the church — at one point facing demolition — finished in September 2023. 

"Now that it's in a state of repair on the exterior ... administration and I had a conversation on whether or not the municipal designation had been removed," Mayor Ames Leslie said, noting that, officially, it had not.

In explaining the recommendation from administration — which he said was solely for discussion among council —  he said it was to have administration explore designating the site at a provincial level.

The mayor also noted that it may open up some funding for the site.

"I think if it brings up an opportunity for us to get some funding ... that's great," Councillor Judy Pruden said at council, with other councillors mirroring her thoughts.

"It's the process that both our local MLA [Jeremy Cockrill] and [the] Fred Light Museum, had mentioned might be something they'd like to see done," Mayor Leslie said in comments to the media post-meeting when asked where the idea had come from.

"It gives it a higher layer of protection ... the first stage was informing council that administration would like to go down this path," he added.

"It sounds like the support of council was there"

Mayor Leslie also noted that he doesn't believe there is much to be expected in terms of workload or timeline, beyond filling out the application and sending it to the Government of Saskatchewan.

"I'm not sure how often they review, if it's first-come in and out, or if it’s once or twice a year. But we're hoping it can get done pretty soon.”