We had a good turnout for Michael’s presentation, there was lively discussion along the way and lots of questions at the end.
Michael touched on the development of heritage policy with its beginnings in 1974, when the Barrett provincial government enacted legislation amending the Vancouver Charter and allowing the city council to designate heritage buildings. This was in response to the outcry over the demolition of the Birks Building and is when buildings like the Hotel Vancouver, Marine Building and HBC Store were designated. He mentioned how the Bennett provincial government that followed enacted new legislation that suggested owners of buildings might be entitled to compensation if a heritage designation reduced the value of their properties. It has been under this constraint that the city’s Heritage Management Plan (first adopted in 1986) has needed to operate and develop its system of incentives and protective measures.
Michael explained the scoring system that is used to give buildings an A, B or C on the Vancouver Heritage Register and that being on the register is not a guarantee of protection. But it is the first step to becoming eligible to receiving a designation and he detailed the process of creating a Statement of Significance which is needed to get on the register.
He referred to the city’s current Heritage Action Plan, which is a review of how heritage conservation is managed and its recent public nomination process for new additions to the Vancouver Heritage Register. Anyone can nominate a site and the deadline is Monday, September 14, 2015. For more information about the Heritage Action Plan check out the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and for a more detailed but immensely readable discussion of heritage policy see the Introduction of Michael’s 2012 book Vanishing Vancouver: The Last 25 Years.
A big thank you to Michael for volunteering his time to make this presentation at our June 1st monthly meeting; everyone found it very interesting and informative.