Formal Heritage Protection

If a property is legally protected, the protection tool will be listed on Title, which you can acquire from the BC Land Title and Survey Authority. A quick check of the City’s online map (where you can download a public site report) will note if your property is a legally protected heritage property or if it is listed on the Heritage Register. If your property is listed on the Heritage Register, it is not legally protected. However, it means that the property has been recognized by the City as having heritage value to the community. 

As the owner of a heritage property in New Westminster, you are encouraged to work with City Staff to retain and protect it, while ensuring its use, density and function are the best they can be.

Working with a Heritage Building

A quick check of the City’s online map (where you can download a site report) will identify the age of the building and if your property is listed on the Heritage Register or if it is protected heritage property.

Guide: Advantages of Heritage Buildings

Guide: Buildings Older than 50 Years of Age

Heritage Building Alteration Standards and Guidelines

STATEMENTS OF SIGNIFICANCE

A Statement of Significance (SOS) identifies the heritage value and explains the context and relevance of a historic property, building or landscape. The short document (usually one-two pages) demonstrates the key aspects that must be protected in order for the historic place to maintain its heritage value.

They are used in evaluating the heritage merit of a property, or when a change is proposed to an already protected property. SOSs are required for the formal protection of a site and are sometimes drafted when a property is listed on the Heritage Register.

An SOS has three parts:

  • Describe the Historic Place

Provide a description of the property in physical terms, detailing location, design features, materials and other attributes.

  • Explain its Heritage Value 

Determine why the property holds community value.

  • Identify Character-defining Elements

List the key physical features that require conservation in order for the property to maintain its heritage value.

You can read the SOS for protected property in New Westminster on the City’s online protected properties map by clicking on the building’s icon in the map, or by clicking the photograph of the property on the left hand side banner.

  • Heritage Designation

    A Heritage Designation Bylaw is a form of long-term legal protection, that is enabled with a bylaw, and that is registered on the land title of that property.

    It is the primary way that Council can deny the demolition of a building.  Any changes to a protected heritage property must first receive approval from City Council (or its delegate) through a Heritage Alteration Permit.  The City also has a minimum maintenance bylaw so that people with protected heritage property know that they will be expected to maintain their building in good condition.  Heritage Designation cannot alter or govern the property’s use or density, nor can it vary regulations such as zoning.

    Guide: Voluntary Heritage Designation
  • Heritage Register

    A Heritage Register is an official list of properties identified by the City as having heritage value or heritage character.

    The Heritage Register is used as a planning tool by the City as an opportunity to discuss options with the property owner, and as a way to offer guidance and support to property owners. Inclusion on the Heritage Register allows Council to temporarily withhold a building permit, a demolition or to order a heritage impact assessment.

    A Heritage Register is used to:

    • Officially list the heritage resources in a community.
    • Give notice to property owners and potential buyers of heritage factors which may affect development options for a listed property.
    • Enable monitoring of proposed changes to properties through the local government licensing and permit application processes.
       

    If your property is listed on the Heritage Register, it is not legally protected. However, it means that the property has been recognized by the City as having heritage value to the community.  As the owner of a heritage building in New Westminster, you are encouraged to work with City Staff to retain and protect your structure, while ensuring its use, density and function are the best they can be.

    There are advantages to retaining a heritage building: for example, properties listed on a Heritage Register are eligible for special provisions in the B.C. Building Code and the Homeowner Protection Act.

    Guide: Heritage Registers

    HERITAGE REGISTER PROPERTIES INTERACTIVE MAP

    Heritage Register Interactive Properties Map

    Note: This map only contains properties listed on the Heritage Register. For a map of formally protected properties, please see the home page of the Formal Heritage Protection section of this webpage.

  • Heritage Conservation Area

    A Heritage Conservation Area, or HCA for short, provides long-term protection to an area in its entirety.

    For an area to be considered for Heritage Conservation Area, it must demonstrate distinct heritage value and character as a whole.

    A Heritage Conservation Area is specified in the City’s Official Community Plan, and cannot alter the zoning on that site. The regulations could govern a variety of character defining or planning related elements of each property including:

    • conservation requirements
    • property maintenance
    • architectural characteristics
    • materials
    • siting, orientation, and setbacks
    • height and massing
    • landscaping
    • parks and public trees
    • other features listed as character defining elements
       

    A Heritage Conservation bylaw must do the following:

    • Identify the character defining elements of the area and resulting heritage value. (See Statements of Significance for more information on character defining elements)
    • Detail the boundaries of the area
    • Include a schedule (a list) of properties protected by the bylaw
    • Specify guidelines or regulations specific to the protection of the neighbourhood and its character defining elements
       

    An HCA would essentially place a layer of heritage protection over all properties within the identified area, regardless of construction age. The heritage site minimum maintenance standards would apply to every property.  All building permit applications (new builds, renovations, demolitions) and subdivision applications would require a Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP), although a list of exemptions could be identified (repairs, maintenance, etc.).

    The bylaw for an HCA must describe the special features or characteristic that justifies the HCA and must also clearly indicate the objectives for implementing it. The HCA may include a schedule that lists buildings, landscape features, etc. that would become “protected heritage property” as defined by the Local Government Act.

    The inclusion of property within an HCA (whether listed on the schedule or not) would not require the permission of the property owner and there is no requirement for compensation by the City to the property owner in the event that there is a reduction in the market value of their property.

  • Conservation Covenant

    A conservation covenant is a contractual agreement negotiated between a property owner and either the City or perhaps with a heritage organization.

    It is a form of long-term legal protection and is registered on the land title of that property. The covenant outlines the responsibilities of each party and can be applied to either constructed structures or natural resources.  Like Heritage Designation, a covenant cannot vary other city bylaws or regulations such as zoning.