Heritage Ottawa Report: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DRAFT NEW OFFICIAL PLAN

Thursday, March 25, 2021

HERITAGE OTTAWA

On March 22, 2021, Heritage Ottawa submitted its Report on City of Ottawa’s Draft of the New Official Plan to the City.  The Report addresses both the draft of the new Official Plan (OP), and the yet to be written Heritage Management Plan.

In the Report, we focus on the meaningful incorporation of heritage protection and management within the OP by linking it to other heritage policy and planning tools, by encouraging adoption of heritage-related priorities, and by broadening the understanding of heritage as integral to growth-management and sustainable development processes.

The Report recommends several suggested improvements, namely related to the protection and management of heritage resources in order to clarify, demonstrate, and implement the City’s commitment to the role of heritage within city-building and growth-management.

Read the full Report here.

Here is a checklist of the Recommendations submitted:

A. Overall Vision

1. We recommend that the City recommit to this broader vision (a “sustainable and resilient city,” as identified in the current Official Plan) in the draft new OP. While a sustainable and resilient city may also be a liveable city, this relationship should be made explicit.

2. The Introduction should include a clear statement that demonstrates the City’s understanding and commitment to the full breadth and depth of its heritage.

3. A clear policy statement is needed now, in this document, that demonstrates the City’s commitment to the role of heritage. 

B. Growth Management and the Big Policy Moves

4. We recommend that the draft new OP identify heritage protection and management as integral to its growth management strategy, to be interwoven with all growth-management activities and policies.

5. We recommend that the HCDs be mapped onto the Transect Plans.

6. Policies supporting regeneration must acknowledge the pressure this strategy may place on older, established areas and must identify how the impacts will be managed, specifically with regards Heritage Conservation Districts.

7. Policy direction should be clearly defined to ensure that the character of older neighbourhoods is maintained and enhanced while meeting the increased demands created by the regeneration strategies outlined in the new OP.

8. The character and integrity of HCDs must be protected through the process of accommodating and adapting to growth, regeneration and development. 

C. Heritage Management Plan

9. To enable this work (development of a Heritage Management Plan as part of the Official Plan implementation) to proceed under the authority of the Official Plan, the latter must include a strong and unequivocal statement about the City’s commitment to developing and implementing a Heritage Management Plan (HMP). 

10. In the absence of the Heritage Management Plan, the draft new OP must include strong statements and demonstrated commitment to protecting, conserving and managing Ottawa’s built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes.

11. We recommend that Section 2.2.6 – Culture, be renamed Cultural Heritage, and amplified with a clear and strong commitment to recognizing, identifying and protecting the value of Ottawa’s heritage resources. 

D. Sustainability

12. We recommend that the new OP recognize that the social, cultural and tangible values associated with heritage buildings and sites are a non-renewable resource.

13. We strongly recommend that Section 2.2.3 - Energy and Climate Change be further developed to promote the important role of reusing and retrofitting existing buildings, including heritage buildings, over demolition and redevelopment.

14. The new OP should take a strong stand against demolition by instituting a policy that supports deconstruction.

15. We recommend that the City adopt specific policies and incentives that support achieving a zero-carbon future through the sensitive deep-energy retrofitting and renovation of existing buildings. Specific policies and incentives should be identified to promote energy retrofitting of heritage-recognized buildings in a manner the protects and maintains their cultural heritage value.

E. Special Districts

16. We recommend that the City adopt a policy and develop a robust framework for independent/multilateral design review of development applications involving National Historic Sites, World Heritage sites, and other places of provincial, national or international significance, and/or where several jurisdictions are involved.

F. Secondary Plans and Hierarchy of Planning Documents

17. We recommend that the hierarchy of planning documents and how the City will interpret these documents be made explicit in the new OP.

G. Implementation

18. We urge that the overall Built Heritage Funding Programs (BHFP) budget be increased annually, as well as the amount of the individual project caps (currently at $10,000 and $25,000) to better accommodate more applications for these regularly over-subscribed Programs. 

CLICK HERE to review the Draft Official Plan on the City of Ottawa website.