Vulcan goes where few municipalities have gone before

Vulcan has developed a plan

Vulcan County, the Town of Vulcan and the Village of Champion are once again working together (you might even say they’ve federated) to conserve their shared heritage. With the aid of a Municipal Heritage Partnership Program grant, they will create a heritage management plan over the next year.

Dedicated readers may recall that these three communities (along with the Villages of Carmangay and Milo) surveyed and inventoried several historic resources last year. They identified several places of interest—sites that warrant further evaluation due to their probable historical or architectural significance. Vulcan’s HAB has already confirmed that many of are significance—that is, they somehow physically embody some aspect of Vulcan’s history.

Knowing that they have several sites that are significance and have integrity, the Vulcanites have turned their attention to figuring out how to protect their locally significant historic resources. That is why they have chosen to develop a heritage management plan. During the next year, they will develop a policy and process to designate locally significant historic resources. Many locally significant sites will be designated as Municipal Historic Resources.

The management plan will lay out the application process and how each municipality will decide what to designate. This will include determining what types of sites they will designate, how the consent of the owner (to designation) will be obtained how the public will be consulted. It will ensure that each proposed designation will be evaluated for historical or architectural significance. This significance will be written down as a statement of significance.

The management plan will also lay out how permits to alter a Municipal Historic Resources will be processed. This involves creating an application process. A proposal to alter a site should describe what is being proposed and why. The municipality then needs to evaluate the proposed change using the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The plan will identify who will process these permits and propose a means of training these agents in the use of the Standards and Guidelines.

The final step will involve exploring what incentives each municipality could offer to encourage the owners of Municipal Historic Resources to conserve them. A successful municipal heritage conservation programs recognizes the need to assist the owner of historic places with the cost of their conservation. The incentive could be grants or tax credits. Any program or service that defrays the cost of operating a property work as incentives too. (You can read Managing Historic Places: Protection and Stewardship of Your Local Heritage for more on heritage management planning).

I’m looking forward to working with Vulcan on this project. When it is done, they will join a select few communities that have completed a survey, inventory and management plan with our assistance. The Vulcans will soon be well poised to protect and conserve their historic places and we’ll all be richer for it.

Written by: Michael Thome, Municipal Heritage Services Officer

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