UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Municipal heritage planning in Canada Lazear, Stuart Brent


Municipal Heritage Planning in Canada: A Profile of Ten Cities The need to conserve physical evidence of the past or "heritage", in a changing urban environment, has manifest itself in a new aspect to municipal planning. This thesis examines municipal heritage planning in Canada from the following perspectives: (a) the events leading to and comprising municipal involvement in its heritage; (b) the role of the heritage planner; (c) the tools available to municipalities for heritage preservation. Based on the premise that the appointment of the heritage planner is a significant point in the evolution of the planning profession and the conservation movement, the thesis focuses on those cities which have a heritage planner. A questionnaire was sent to sixteen cities where heritage activity was taking place. Ten of these qualified for inclusion in the analysis by virtue of having one or more Heritage Planners on staff. While the primary jurisdiction for the regulation of heritage property rests with the Provincial Government, the provinces have recently given municipalities the power to protect their own cultural resources through designation. These powers are rarely sufficient and have compelled municipalities to use other tools to achieve protection either with or without designation. These mechanisms can range from "soft" incentives which require little commitment from the municipality in terms of time and money spent (for example, moral suasion), to "harder" mechanisms such as outright purchase. The role of the Heritage Planner will continue to be the development and administration of these tools together with other heritage programs such as the Inventory and Evaluation of the city's cultural resources and the education of the public and private sectors about heritage preservation. A central conclusion of this thesis is that current municipal activity in heritage preservation is directed, in large part, towards ameliorating the negative economic consequences of heritage designation. More could be done by setting designation aside as a primary concern and using the existing tools at the municipality's disposal to encourage the private sector to undertake preservation activities. The opportunity for the Heritage Planner rests in using these tools and developing new ones.

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