Proactive rather than reactive heritage preservation

Heritage protection has been in the news lately but not in a positive light.  The Wilson Farmhouse is a case study of reactive not proactive heritage preservation efforts and how much more difficult it is.  If the Wilson Farmhouse had been incorporated into the subdivision plan, as is best practice today, we would not be having this conflicted community debate this week.

In contrast, the draft Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District Plan and Guidelines were released last week to the public and will be placed on the June 9 Council meeting.  No decision will be made at this meeting.  Council will hear delegations on the draft plan and guidelines, ask questions of staff for clarification and identify potential issues that might need to be addressed.  Further public input will be sought prior to it coming back to Council for final consideration. Council has approved the boundary for this heritage conservation district as well as proceeding with the development of a draft plan and guidelines.

Why protect heritage?

Our heritage tells the story of our community. Our heritage is part of our identity as a city; it makes us unique and distinguishes us from other places. Our heritage helps to create a sense of place and that is important because research tells us that communities with a strong sense of place are safer, more connected and have a healthier and more resilient local economy.

Why is the Brooklyn and College Hill area being considered? 

The desire to protect heritage in this part of our city was identified during the engagement to develop a community improvement plan for the area. There is an interest in the neighbourhood to ensure future development respects the heritage character of this area.

Why is a Heritage Conservation District proposed?

The best method to protect clusters of heritage resources and ensure that compatible development occurs is to designate a heritage conservation district. Heritage Conservation Districts are a tool provided to municipalities through the Ontario Heritage Act. The Brooklyn and College Hill area has been confirmed as an excellent candidate for a Heritage Conservation District because of the high number of important architectural, natural and cultural resources and the distinctive time and character in Guelph’s history represented by this area.

You can learn more about what a heritage conservation district is on the city’s website. The plan and guidelines describe how it is proposed to work.

Heritage Conservation District

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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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One Comment on “Proactive rather than reactive heritage preservation”

  1. P. Jagam Says:

    You could not have chosen better words, madam Mayor – a proactive approach is
    needed to protect heritage – not only at the mortar and brick level, but also at the
    emotional, intellectual and life style levels. I hope that you will agree with me if I say that the spirit of the farmsteaders and homesteaders is also our heritage that needs to be preserved in this urbanized industrial global village. Isn’t it?

    Would it be wrong to say that, too much focus on the brick and mortar level heritage,
    with too little focus at the emotional, intellectual and lifestyle level heritage,
    led to the example of what happened with the Wilson Farmhouse in our community,
    if you know what I mean.

    Is it too much to expect from a Public Corporation like The City of Guelph
    to provide cheaper, faster and better services, just like from a private corporation
    which competes for the business from the public, including heritage preservation
    if “heritage is part of our identity as a city; (and) it makes us unique and
    distinguishes us from other places?”

    May I humbly submit to you that Leadership from The City, including from the staff, is needed, if proactive approach were to take root in our City Corporation to preserve our heritage, by recalling that The City of Guelph is a public corporation for the
    people of Guelph?

    What can you do for us at this time to provide that leadership at this stage
    in proactively preserving the heritage of Guelph?


    A proactive citizen
    of the Royal City of Guelph

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