City of Victoria
Mayor and Council
1 Centennial Square
September 9th, 2015
Dear Mayor and Council,
Exemptions and Delegated Authority Report
I am writing to you in my capacity as chair of the City’s Heritage Advisory Panel (HAPL) to seek referral of the Exemptions and Delegated Authority Report, due to come before the Planning and Land Use Committee on September 9th, 2015, to HAPL for advice to council.
While HAPL was assured at its September 8th meeting that the exemptions and delegations were to address minor legal technicalities, it is not clear how such exemptions and delegations avoid unintended consequences on form and character. In particular, HAPL members noted that it is often modest alterations – like those defined by their floor area in the report - that erode the character of a heritage conservation area or historic place.
New buildings, additions to existing buildings, and alterations to registered, designated and non-designated buildings within Heritage Conservation Areas all affect the overall form and character that the objectives in the OCP seek to conserve and enhance. HAPL would welcome an objective exploration of how the exemptions and delegations could affect this character.
The panel felt it important to make this suggestion to Mayor and Council in the context of what it perceives as a decline in referrals to the panel generally. For example, recent applications to remove an historic place from the municipal heritage register, and applications to alter a registered property have gone straight to council without panel input.
If these are conscious policy decisions made before the current members joined, HAPL would be keen to hear the rationale. In particular we would be keen to know why properties are registered if it is not to flag them for enhanced oversight.
The Panel is a brain’s trust of city memory, wisdom and technical knowledge, willing to volunteer as much time as it takes to represent the city’s heritage values and advise council accordingly. I encourage council to make full use of this extraordinary resource that I am honoured to chair.
Chair, Heritage Advisory Panel
Cc: HAPL members, M Miller, Senior Heritage Planner; J Appleby, C Havelka PLUC Secretariat