By Christie McNeil

The mandate of the Sydney Architectural Conservation Society is to intercede when historic buildings or landmarks are threatened – for example, vacant and unused buildings. By acquiring them, protecting them with heritage covenants (easements on title), and selling them to sympathetic purchasers, all proceeds will help to rescue and conserve other historic buildings. With shrewd, strategic decisions and community support, such a process could continue in perpetuity.

Working in partnership with The Old Sydney Society, this Heritage Revolving Fund is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia. Effectively administered, it can be one of the most powerful tools in historic preservation, neighbourhood revitalization, and community economic development.

Our first project is the historic Liscombe House, ca. 1860. One of the most prominent landmarks in the North End of Sydney, this building has been the focus of social-history research for more than a generation, and one of Cape Breton’s few Italianate edifices. The building was vacant and deteriorating. The home has been purchased by the Conservation Society with donated funds, and renovations began in July 2011.

So far this innovative project has attracted a great deal of attention and support from neighbours, the media, and local businesses. Private donations have funded the project thus far, as well as a donation of $150 from the Telegraph House and Dining Room in Baddeck, in honour of their 150th anniversary celebration this year. Immediate work to the roof has been by Sydport Builders and Design at a reduced rate that reflects the community mindedness of this company.

For more information about this project, please contact Alicia Lake atalicia_lake@cbu.caor visit our website athttp://www.preservesydney.com.

Sydney Architectural Conservation Society Volunteer Board Members:

Carl Getto, Community Developer
Catherine Arseneau, Manager, Beaton Institute
Dr. Ken Donovan, Historian, Parks Canada
Donald Ward, President, Old Sydney Society
Ken Langley, Lawyer and expert in community development
Gary Corsano, Lawyer and expert in non-profit governance
Joyce Rankin, Community Development Consultant
Simon Gillis, Executive Member of the Whitney Pier Historical Society
Dr. Tom Urbaniak, Political Scientist and Board Member, ICOMOS Canada
Rick McCready, Planner, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Alicia Lake, Community Development Consultant
Christie MacNeil, Project Archivist, Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University
Jennifer LeBlanc, Curator, Old Sydney Society
IMO Dr. Robert Morgan (1938-2011), Historian and founding member of the Old Sydney Society and the Sydney Architectural Conservation Society.