Burlington launching study to look at preserving downtown heritage sites

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Published December 20, 2022 at 11:32 am

Over the last year or so, Burlington has begun to take more seriously the idea of preserving heritage properties, especially in the downtown core.

To continue that momentum, the City is launching the Downtown Heritage Study and is looking for feedback from the community and stakeholders.

The study will run until next fall and will look at eight individual properties with potential heritage value. There are also six groups of properties that may qualify as potential “cultural heritage landscapes”.

A “cultural heritage landscape” is a term for a group of heritage features such as buildings, trees, landscaping, views and spaces that have significance as a group that is different from their individual parts.

“Burlington supports voluntary heritage conservation through incentive programs like our Community Heritage Fund and Tax Rebate Program. Now, more than ever, we recognize how important it is to consult and collaborate with property owners and stakeholders before any new regulations or protection measures are recommended,” said Brynn Neilly, executive director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility.

“And while it’s important for residents and stakeholders to understand that the study cannot stop new development or prevent changes to existing buildings, it will explore ways of managing changes to the downtown’s finite heritage resources as it rapidly transforms.

“I encourage anyone in the downtown and those interested in Burlington heritage to visit the project page and consider attending the public consultation meeting in February. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on our Downtown Heritage Study.”

Residents are invited to join City of Burlington staff and a heritage consultant at a public consultation meeting on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Burlington, Shoreline Room, 1333 Lakeshore Rd.

By the end of the study, council will receive a staff report to decide if any of the properties or areas assessed in the study have heritage merit and should be protected through a heritage designation.

Designation is only one tool to conserve historical character. Other conservation strategies will be explored with property owners and stakeholders during the engagement process. Based on study findings, Council will also consider whether the 26 properties added to the heritage register at the July 12, 2022 City Council meeting and the Sept. 20, 2022 Council Meeting should continue to be listed on the heritage register or removed.

For more information, visit the city webpage. This page also contains project background reports, policy documents and guidelines, a map, historical resources and videos and an option to subscribe for project updates. Residents can connect with the City’s heritage planner at [email protected] or 905-335-7777, ext. 7427.

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