Communities throughout B.C. now have a new workbook at their fingertips to help ensure heritage buildings contribute to sustainable community development.
The Dynamic Downtowns Workbook, Using Heritage to Build Strong, Vibrant Downtowns, guides communities wanting to integrate heritage into community planning and resource management. The workbook was inspired by success stories from communities around B.C. and includes information about the economic and environmental benefits of heritage revitalization as well as a check list for communities and five case studies of best practices.
A pilot workshop that incorporated the workbook and provided an opportunity for community discussion was conducted last month with the Town of Ladysmith. Ladysmith was chosen for the project due to its size and because the town already has shown a commitment to heritage in the past. This workshop was important to gather feedback from community members and all information gathered was provided to the provincial government.
The workbook supports goals outlined in government's recently released Heritage Strategy for B.C., such as strengthening heritage conservation in communities and helping facilitate the development of the heritage tourism sector. It also supports the Province's vision to facilitate the development of heritage conservation at the local level where decision makers have a direct connection and in-depth knowledge of their community's specific heritage needs.
Dynamic Downtowns was created through a partnership between Sustainable Cities International and C+S Planning Group and is supported by funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Columbia Institute and the ministry's Heritage Branch.
Copies of the workbook are available online at: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/heritage/external/!publish/web/DynamicDowntownsWorkbook_Final.pdf
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
"There is rich history in every community throughout British Columbia. This workbook will assist local governments and regional districts with incorporating heritage conservation into their local community planning."
Mayor Rob Hutchins, Town of Ladysmith -
"The Town of Ladysmith was pleased to assist with the testing of this workbook. We believe that it will help other communities in British Columbia understand the value of investing in their heritage as Ladysmith has done and will continue to do."
Maria Stanborough, Registered Professional Planner, C+S Planning Group -
"The workbook covers the economic and environmental benefits of integrating heritage planning into local revitalization efforts. We hope communities across B.C. find the workbook insightful and use the information it provides to enhance their downtown core by using heritage buildings to their full potential."
Jack Wong, CEO, Real Estate Foundation of BC -
"The Real Estate Foundation of BC supports real estate and land use practices that contribute to resilient, healthy communities. We hope that this workbook will help B.C. communities preserve their historic places through well-informed planning programs."
Eric Pattison, president, Heritage BC -
"This new workbook provides great examples of how a number of B.C. communities are capitalizing on their heritage resources to build strong vibrant communities. This will be useful to Heritage BC as one of our tools in delivering heritage planning, project grants and training services to communities to support the preservation of historic places across B.C."
- Local governments have been responsible for conserving their own heritage buildings since 1994, when legislation was amended to give them the tools to recognize and protect their historic sites, and the ability to encourage conservation.
- B.C.'s Register of Historic Places has over 3,500 listings of recognized historic sites - and there may be hundreds more that have yet to be registered.
- B.C.'s historic buildings, structures and cultural landscapes attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually from around the globe, creating jobs for British Columbians and supporting sustainable communities.
Heritage Strategy for British Columbia: Our Heritage, Historic Places: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/heritage/external/!publish/web/Heritage_Historic_Places2013_final.pdf
Heritage Branch: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/heritage/
Heritage BC: http://www.heritagebc.ca/
Canadian Register of Historic Places: http://www.historicplaces.ca/
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations