Neubergthal Considering Guidelines For Future Development

Discussions have begun on whether the residents of Neubergthal need to establish some guidelines as to how the village will be developed in the future.

In 1997 Parks Canada designated Neubergthal as a national heritage site because it's an excellent example of how a Mennonite street village was used to settle western Canada.

Manitoba Heritage has shown interest in the village and has suggested the idea of establishing a set of guiding principles on what should and should not be constructed in the village in order to preserve its historic nature.

"Parks has said this place is a significant historic and architectural piece of Canadian history...and so their hope was that this could be maintained for generations," said Ray Hamm, member of the Neubergthal Heritage Foundation. "So there are these discussions to see if residents of the village would want to establish some guidelines."

Neubergthal residents began formally discussing the idea at a meeting on Tuesday, March 20 where it was met with some caution, concern and even some opposition, according to Hamm.

"It's a touchy subject because you might be impinging on someone's ownership and private property. Nobody wants people to make rules about what they can or cannot do on their property."

Hamm is quick to point out that any guidelines designed to protect the feel and look of the heritage village would be developed and approved by local residents and would not be imposed by Parks Canada, Manitoba Heritage, the municipality or any other entity.

"Parks (Canada) has said, it's not just the old buildings but it's something about the whole village that proved to the world that you could settle on the open prairie away from the river, away from the bush, away from fuel and shelter and make it work. So far, inadvertently and unconsciously, that pattern has been preserved here and so the question arises: does it need a little bit of outside oversight. That's what we're thinking about right now."