Ashcroft Slough deserves heritage designation

To the editor,

On July 27, 2020, I made a Powerpoint presentation to the Village of Ashcroft Council as a member of a group working to obtain access to the area known by locals as the Slough.

I asked that they consider establishing a Community Heritage Registry and that the Slough be recognized on that registry. Local governments have the authority to formally recognize historic places, including cultural landscapes that have local or regional significance. To view the Powerpoint in its entirety, visit the Ashcroft Slough Society’s Facebook page or visit the Ashcroft Slough Society’s new website.

On Aug. 24, the Council deliberated on the report that staff had prepared to summarize the presentation, providing Council with additional background information, and guiding them in their consideration of the merits of my request. The full report can be found in the agenda package for the Aug. 24 regular meeting on the Village of Ashcroft website.

Staff concluded: “The presentation does not identify historical, cultural, archeological, or ecological value that would make the Slough a suitable contender for a Community Heritage Site” and recommended that “Council not consider the establishment of a Heritage Conservation committee or commission for the purpose of designating the Slough as a Heritage Site; and further that Ms. Mertens be advised to contact the Ashcroft Terminal Working Group and share her presentation.”

During the brief time allotted for public input, I pointed out the inconsistencies of the recommendation. I had asked that Council consider establishing a Community Heritage Registry, not a commission; that I did not request any kind of heritage designation, but rather a heritage recognition, which is legally significantly different; that only Council has the authority to create such a registry by resolution and no private landowner can do so; that a recommendation to not consider is incongruent as they would ‘have to consider to not consider’.

When the item came up for discussion, the mayor recommended the alternative recommendation presented by staff ‘to receive for information’. Essentially, this means that they have elected to do nothing. Evidently, we have nothing of historic significance in our community.

Let your Council know your opinion. Does the Slough merit heritage value? Does it help define our town? Is it worthy of being passed down to future generations?

Gloria E. Mertens


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