UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Local government heritage planning legislation in British Columbia Habkirk, Allison Margaret


Local Government Heritage Planning Legislation in British Columbia investigates and critiques the community planning policies of the provincial government white paper Toward Heritage Legislation. This investigation is undertaken from the perspectives of the experience of other jurisdictions and the views of professional heritage planners in British Columbia. The primary objectives of this thesis are: i) to illustrate by examining the history of heritage conservation legislation in other jurisdictions that there is a common pattern to the evolution of conservation legislation and that the proposals of Toward Heritage Legislation are consistent with this pattern ii) to examine the views of professional heritage planners regarding the proposed policies and iii) to argue that the proposed policies demonstrate both strengths and weaknesses and that a strong implementation framework will be required if the policies are to be implemented effectively. These objectives are achieved by the use of two methods. First, the history of heritage conservation is traced through a review of the relevant historical literature on the legislation of other jurisdictions. Second, fifteen professional heritage planners from across British Columbia are interviewed regarding their views on the proposed policies. The first conclusion of the thesis is that there is a pattern to the development of heritage legislation in other jurisdictions. This pattern illustrates that early heritage legislation focuses largely on the conservation of individual sites and monuments and that over time the legislation evolves and ultimately demonstrates three characteristics: one, the recognition of the context of individual sites including grouping of individual sites to form historic areas and districts, two, the integration of heritage planning into the day to day planning processes of local government and three, the devolution of responsibility for heritage conservation from senior to local governments. The data collected from the consultations with professional planners indicates that there is broad support for the conceptual basis of the proposed policies but that there are significant weaknesses in the details of the proposals. The planners indicate that in particular there are weaknesses in the ability to implement the policies within existing local government administrative practices. The thesis also concludes that the community planning proposals of Toward Heritage Legislation are consistent with the policies of other jurisdictions and in fact represent the logical next step in the development of heritage legislation in British Columbia. However, the planners interviewed clearly cautioned that the details of the policies must be reviewed, clarified and modified if they are to be successfully implemented. Their concerns focused on three general areas: the planners indicated in some cases that they did not support individual policies as proposed, secondly they requested clarification and detailing of the implementation of individual policies and thirdly, they advised that additional resources will be required to successfully implement the policies. The final conclusion of the thesis concerns the importance of training personnel to implement new heritage legislation. The consultations with the planners highlighted the current weaknesses of training for heritage planners and emphasized the importance of this shortcoming for the future of heritage conservation in British Columbia.

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