A new report by award-winning heritage conservation expert Julian Smith expresses concerns that the integrity of Ottawa's designated Heritage Conservation Districts is being routinely compromised and eroded.
The report was spearheaded by the Rockcliffe Park Heritage Committee which invited Smith, along with Heritage Ottawa and representatives of 16 of Ottawa's designated Heritage Conservation Districts, to conduct a series of workshops reviewing the challenges faced by each district in preserving its unique heritage character.
"In most cases, the problem appears to be directly related to the failure to respect and straightforwardly apply the approved Heritage Plans for these districts and the related directives set out in the Ontario Heritage Act and the Provincial Policy Statement" states Smith in the report.
"The direct voice of Ottawa’s heritage communities, and the unique expertise they embody, must be given the principal role in interpreting their guidelines and Heritage Plans, and advising City Council and its Committees and Sub-Committees on development applications or other proposed changes in their heritage districts."
Smith goes on to state that "adding contemporary layers to historic places, in ways that respect their cultural heritage value, is a process that requires strong community input to be successful."
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for change at the municipal level in Ottawa in how Ontario's regulatory framework for heritage protection is applied.
Read the Smith Report in its entirety here.