Citizens present heritage recommendations

CDC Oct. 1, 6:30pm, City Hall, Council Chambers

Burlington pumphouseHeritage Burlington(HB)—the city’s citizen advisory committee on heritage matters—has completed their review of current heritage policies and made a comprehensive set of recommendations for council’s consideration. HB will present their report and recommendations to the city’s community development committee on Oct. 1. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and can register as a delegation to speak here.

The report, A New Approach to Conserving Burlington’s Heritage, was compiled after several months of extensive research and public consultation, including a community workshop and city-wide phone survey. The survey captured the opinions of 756 Burlington residents on heritage-related topics ranging from evaluating heritage properties and listing of heritage properties to funding and incentives for heritage conservation.

The report (available here) reflects what the committee heard from the community and will help move the city forward with a transparent, new vision for heritage conservation in Burlington.

Among the recommendations:

  • removal of all properties pre-classified as “B” under the Kalman system from the Municipal Register
  • Discontinue the current Heritage Clearance system, and develop a new service supported by the Planning and Building Department and Heritage Burlington entitled “Heritage Design and Advisory Services” that would be available to all heritage property owners.
  • approve a review of all heritage properties, by Heritage Burlington, with the cooperation of the Planning and Building Department between 2013 and 2016, starting with “A” and “D” properties.
  • approve a tax rebate program to assist owners of residential designated properties with the maintenance of their properties; the rebate would be a 20% reduction in the first year, increasing 5% per year to a maximum of 40% in 5 years. Investigate a similar program for commercial properties.
  • establish a Burlington Heritage Trust to fund renovation projects for both designated and non-designated properties on the Register.
  • approve allocation of $125,000 in 2013 for set-up costs for a Heritage Conservation Program, including communications, tax relief, grants & loans, heritage trust and staff support.

My Take: I’m supportive of the recommendations and believe they embody the critical principle that heritage preservation results in a community benefit, and thus requires a shared community responsibility. The recommendations will provide a service to heritage property owners, rather than a penalty for being on a municipal registry.

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward
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What's your take?