As something that tells a layered and rich story about a community, heritage can be unique to each area. What is important or significant to one community is not necessarily as important or significant to another.
“The spirit and character of Crowsnest Pass is largely defined by its unique history and heritage. Historic places tell the story of the land, the people, and the buildings of communities.” (source)
Describing the value of heritage is key to identification, retention, conservation, and recognition. By describing the value of heritage, it is possible to identify the importance and significance of heritage for past, present and future generations.
It is important that each local government understands what is important to the community it serves. Following, is a list of ideas and approaches that can be used as a starting point when developing criteria for identifying and describing the importance and significance of local heritage.
An established practice of describing heritage value is to follow the five categories identified in the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada: (source)
These values are the basis for the Statement of Significance. “A SOS is a succinct way of expressing heritage value, workable for the many jurisdictions across the country that are engaged in recognizing heritage value. It ensures that heritage values are communicated in an effective and consistent manner that bridges the differences between jurisdictions.” (source) A Statement of Significant can be prepared by anyone with sufficient interest and time, but a heritage professional is recommended. For a list of heritage professionals, please visit BC Association of Heritage Professionals or contact Heritage BC. Information about Statements of Significance can be found on Heritage BC’s webinar-on-demand (link).
“A site’s heritage value may lie as much in the information contained in the elements as in their evocative force, as vestiges of past histories.” (source)
Other considerations include:
This process of identifying heritage values should also explore values that pre-date what is being described. Examples include:
The Nova Scotia government has provided a helpful list of questions to consider (source):
The City of Vancouver has developed a set of five themes to guide nominations to the Vancouver Heritage Register. (source)
Community Heritage Register versus Heritage Designation
It is important to understand the differences between a Community Heritage Register and designation. Each provides a means to recognize heritage value and character, and a property may be listed on a heritage register, or have heritage designation, or both. But a CHR does not provide the same legal protections as a designation.
The Province of BC describes the basic differences as (source):
|Heritage Designation||Community Heritage Register|
|Provides permanent legal protection for a historic place.||Identifies a historic place that the community deems to have heritage value|
|Changes require a Heritage Alteration Permit.||Does not provide permanent legal protection.|
|Is enacted by bylaw.||Is enacted by local government through a resolution|
Heritage Conservation, A Technical Guide for Local Governments expands on this by contrasting the legislation:
A designated property is legally protected by the local government. Designation offers long-term protection and allows a government to regulate alterations and demolition. If the designation of a property causes a reduction in the market value of the property at the time of designation, the local government must compensate the owner. Compensation can be in either monetary or some other form.
A property included in a community heritage register is not designated (unless it has been separately designated by bylaw) and therefore is not eligible for any financial incentive or compensation from the local government. The registration of a property does not offer permanent heritage protection. A registered property, however, is eligible for special provisions in the BC Building Code Heritage Building Supplement.
A comparison of designation and Community Heritage Register comes from Heritage Conservation: A Technical Manual for Local Governments.
|Public Hearing Before?||Yes||No|
|Affects Land Title?||Yes||No|
|Building Code Provisions?||Yes||Yes|