The conservation of Ottawa’s heritage resources contributes significantly to the unique character of our city’s streets and neighbourhoods. Investing in the maintenance and rehabilitation of heritage properties has proven to attract business, tourism and new creative enterprises, while enhancing sustainable development in our communities.
The municipal election on October 22 is our opportunity to raise the profile of the important role the conservation of heritage buildings plays in the health of our communities. It’s also a chance to ask incumbents and candidates some straightforward questions about where they stand on heritage issues.
Heritage Ottawa is posing the following questions to all candidates in the 2018 municipal election.
1. Demolition by Neglect, in which designated heritage buildings are left to deteriorate, is an increasing problem in Ottawa. Should the City take a more active role in preventing the demolition by neglect of heritage buildings? Would you support the City’s expropriation of Ottawa’s most egregious example, Somerset House on Bank Street? Why or why not?
2. Since 2001, the Ontario Municipal Act has allowed the implementation of a Heritage Property Tax Relief Program to encourage the rehabilitation of Ontario’s privately owned heritage resources, which has been used successfully by many municipalities in the province. Would you support implementing such a program in Ottawa that would provide important tax incentives for owners to invest in the repair/rehabilitation of their heritage properties? Why or why not?
3. In designated Heritage Conservation Districts, do you believe that local community opinion should influence City Staff recommendations to approve or reject heritage applications within the district? Why or why not?
4. The City’s Heritage Register is a list of buildings determined to contribute to the cultural heritage value of the city. (Please note: a listing on the Register is not a formal heritage designation; the only restriction is that property owners must provide a 60-day notice of intention to demolish.) Do you believe that properties should be exempt from inclusion on the Register at the owners' discretion? If not, how would you attempt to alleviate a property owner’s concerns?
5. What is your view on the proposed addition to the heritage-designated Château Laurier hotel? Do you agree with Council’s decision to delegate final heritage and design approval of the addition to Ottawa City Staff, rather than requiring a revised heritage application to return to committees and Council for final approval, as per normal procedure under the Ontario Heritage Act? Why or why not?
CLICK HERE to see which candidates responded, and their answers.
Heritage Ottawa offers these questions that you can ask at all-candidates meetings or when a candidate comes to your door.
How the candidates respond may provide useful information on which to base your vote on October 22.