Today, council turned down a proposal to purchase the McDougall United Church. This was deemed a fair decision as it would have set a precedent for many other old churches currently in disrepair. In the interim, City Council has requested Administration to look at all alternative options to save the church.
Despite proclaiming the building’s historical significance, the church authority refuses to peruse a Municipal Heritage Designation, a fate that would secure its legal protection from demolition. Church treasurer Greg Greenough asserts that Municipal Heritage Designation would decrease the resale value as it would limit future owners from dismantling the building for redevelopment. This is simply untrue. Heritage properties typically perform well in comparison to other property markets. Further, their values tend to be resistant to market downturns. This is quite evident in Edmonton and can be seen around many thriving urban neighbourhoods such as Oliver, Old Strathcona and 104 Street. If the church is truly interested in saving this cultural asset, it should invest in designation.
To read more on the history of McDougall United Church, read this excellent article by Lawrence Herzog here.