Heritage Management Planning in Peace River
On May 10th, I had the pleasure of attending a heritage management planning open house, hosted by the Town of Peace River. The town wanted public feedback on the heritage management policies they have been working on with the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program since September. Posters describing the proposed designation and management policies where hung in various locations around the museum and staff were available to answer public questions. The open house was held near the river at the Peace River Museum and Mackenzie Centre. The plan includes two components: a Municipal Historic Resource designation policy and a plan to manage designated sites.
The Municipal Historic Resource designation policy explains how Peace River will determine if a site is historic and if it should be protected as a Municipal Historic Resource. The policy will specify who can nominate a site for designation and what the town must know about the history and condition of a place to make a recommendation to the town council. These policies will help the town decide if designating a site will protect a place that embodies an important part of Peace River’s heritage. It will help the Town determine if protection is in the public interest. The policy will also help the Town and property owners understand their obligations towards one another should a property be designated.
The second part of the management plan is the alteration permitting process. A Municipal Historic Resource cannot be altered without the municipality’s approval. The management policy will explain how an owner applies for a permit, what information they need to provide and how applications will be evaluated. For instance, it is important to be able to answer questions such as:
- will the changes affect the heritage value of the historic place, allowing the destruction of character-defining elements?
- will the changes impact the site as little as possible?
- who within the municipal administration makes these decisions?
The management policy ensures that these questions are answered in a consistent and transparent way.
Staff at the Town of Peace River are putting the final touches on the management plan and will present it to Town Council in June. We will bring you more details after the plan has been approved by council.
Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer