What is Heritage in the Prince George Context?
Prince George, B.C. – It has been 9 years since the Heritage Register was created and four sites in Prince George were named to that register. Over the last year, the Heritage Commission has been looking at what other properties might be added to that register.
The four sites on the register are:
- 6th Avenue Liquor Store
- South Fort George School House
- Federal Government Building on 3rd Avenue.
- Nechako Crossing.
A previous report identified some 400 sites in Prince George which could be included.
Prince George’s Heritage Registry won’t look like that of other communities, but that doesn’t mean the sites don’t have heritage value . Under the standards and guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, a building may have “aesthetic, historic, scientific, cultural, social, or spiritual importance or significance for past, present, and future generations.”
Heritage BC says “A single place may have more than one heritage value. It may be valued for different reasons by different communities of people.”
Having a property on the register doesn’t mean the City can prevent development on that site, but a City could have some input to encourage features which make the site special be maintained.
Although a property owner doesn’t have to be consulted before the property is named a Heritage site, the Heritage Commission fully intends to gain consent from the owners of such properties before the site is added. There are 20 top priority sites under consideration, many of them in the downtown core. The Commission is now working with Downtown Prince George to encourage Heritage improvement to the sites.
But there needs to be more information for property owners, to explain what a Heritage Register means, and how it might impact those properties. It can be a positive for the owners, as the property could be :
- Eligible for “Alternative Compliance Methods” in the B.C. Building Code
- Be eligible for Heritage BC grants or future incentives the City may develop
- Statement of Significance (SOS) provides ideas for design
- Public recognition: plaques, signs & walking tour routes
Council has approved directing Planning and Development staff to create an Administrative Procedure in order to manage the City’s Heritage Register.