Heritage Protection and Development

New Westminster values the retention and restoration of its many historic buildings and structures. There are many opportunities available to ensure growth and change in the community is respectful of its heritage assets.

There are different types of heritage protection and tools available to manage change to properties with heritage value. 

Heritage Protection Tools

Buildings Older than 50 Years | Pre-1900 Buildings | Heritage Register | Heritage Designation | Heritage Conservation Covenant | Heritage Conservation Area | Heritage Property Maintenance Standards Bylaw

Heritage Development Tools

Heritage Revitalization Agreements | Heritage Alteration Permits | Columbia Street Historic District


If you are considering buying or selling a property with heritage value, contact the Planning Division to learn more about the implications of the heritage value for development and potential benefits. 

  • Buildings Older than 50 Years

    If a building is older than 50 years, it may have heritage value.

    If a demolition permit is received for a building older than 50 years, the City will review the building to identify any heritage value. If there is high value, the City may reach out to the applicant regarding alternative development options. It may also be reviewed by the Community Heritage Commission and Council.  Council may choose to temporarily withhold a demolition permit. 

    Buildings older than 50 years may be eligible for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. This is a negotiated agreement with the City which allows development benefits on the property in return for heritage restoration and long-term legal protection of the building through Designation.

    To check the age of a building, use CityViews, the interactive mapping system.

    Note: A building listed on the Heritage Inventory is likely to have heritage value. 

  • Pre-1900 Buildings

    There are a limited number of pre-1900 buildings in New Westminster. The City seeks to retain them wherever possible.

    The City expects a high level of consideration and evaluation be given to pre-1900 buildings prior to applying for a demolition permit. Similarly, all efforts should be made to retain pre-1900 buildings on properties subject to a rezoning application. All pre-1900 buildings are eligible for Heritage Revitalization Agreements.

    If you are considering redeveloping a property with a pre-1900 building on it, a Heritage Assessment written by a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) may be required, in order to determine the heritage value of the building and how the proposed changes would affect it.  A pre-1900 building with heritage value may be asked to consider a Heritage Revitalization Agreement instead of a rezoning.

    A demolition or redevelopment application for a pre-1900 building or structure will be reviewed by the Planning Division. It may also be reviewed by the Community Heritage Commission and Council.  Council may temporarily withhold a demolition permit or Building Permit.  

    To check the age of a building, use CityViews, the interactive mapping system.

  • Heritage Register

    The Heritage Register is an official list of properties with heritage value which have been identified by the City. It can notify potential buyers of heritage value, which may alter the development options for a property.

    Applications for changes to or demolition of properties listed on the Heritage Register are generally reviewed by the Planning Division and may be referred to the Community Heritage Commission.  Alterations and additions are reviewed to determine the appropriateness of the proposed changes in relation to the character defining elements of the building or structure. However, no heritage-related permits are required in addition to the standard Building Permit.

    Inclusion of a property on the Heritage Register allows Council the option to temporarily withhold a Building Permit, temporarily withhold a demolition permit, and/or to require a Heritage Assessment.  A Heritage Assessment investigates the heritage value of a property, how the proposed changes would affect it, and applicable mitigation or conservation measures.

    Advantages of being on the Heritage Register include eligibility for special provisions in the B.C. Building Code and the Homeowner Protection Act.  To add your property to the Heritage Register, please contact the Planning Division.  There is no fee.  

    To check if a property is on the heritage register or to learn more about properties on the heritage register, view the Heritage Register Interactive Properties Map.

  • Heritage Designation

    Heritage Designation is a form of long-term legal protection that is enabled with a bylaw and is registered on Title.

    A Designation Bylaw may be applied to the whole property, part of a property or building, interior or exterior fixtures or features, and landscape features. In New Westminster, the Designation generally applies only to the exterior of the building. Heritage Designation cannot vary land use, density, or other Zoning Bylaw regulations. Designated properties may be eligible for special provisions in the B.C. Building Code and the Homeowner Protection Act.  Designated properties also receive a plaque for the property which recognizes the value of their building. 

    To see whether a property is Designated or to learn more about Designated properties, view the  Heritage Protection Map.  To view the Designation Bylaw for a property, contact the Planning Division.

    Designation Process

    Any property that has heritage value is eligible for Designation. There is no fee to Designate a property. To Designate a property, staff present a report to Council outlining the heritage value of the property, identifying its historic features, and commenting on its compatibility with City policies.

    If Council decides to move forward with the Designation process, a Public Hearing will be held before the Designation Bylaw is adopted. To learn more about Designating a property, contact the Planning Division. There is no fee.

    Working with a Designated Building

    Any changes to a Designated property must be allowed through a Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP).  An HAP provides the City the opportunity to review proposed changes to a building and ensure they do not impact its heritage value. There is no fee for an HAP for a Designated property. Applications for the alteration or demolition of a Designated property must be reviewed by the Community Heritage Commission and Council. Council may deny proposed alterations or demolition. 

    The City has a Heritage Property Maintenance Standards Bylaw. The purpose of this bylaw is to establish minimum standards of maintenance and ensure heritage properties are not lost through neglect or a lack of maintenance. Standard maintenance, such as replacement of materials in-kind, does not require an HAP.

    The New Westminster Heritage Foundation operates an annual grant program: the grants are available to owners of Designated residential buildings for exterior conservation work (e.g., maintenance or restoration). The grant provides up to 50% of the actual cost. The maximum grant award to a qualified heritage homeowner is $10,000.  For more information, including eligibility and application criteria or timing, visit the New Westminster Preservation Society.

  • Heritage Conservation Covenant

    A conservation covenant is an agreement between a property owner and the City which provides long-term legal protection and is registered on Title.

    The covenant outlines the responsibilities of each party and can apply to building, structures and natural features. A covenant cannot vary land use, density, or other Zoning Bylaw regulations.  Minimum standards of maintenance are generally set out in the covenant to ensure the heritage feature is maintained in good condition.  Conservation covenants are uncommon and are only used in unique situations.

    Applications for the alteration or demolition of a property or structure protected with a heritage covenant would be reviewed by Planning, the Community Heritage Commission and Council.  Council may deny proposed alterations or demolition.

    A conservation covenant is registered on the Title of a property. To see properties subject to a conservation covenant, use the Heritage Protection Map.  To view the covenant for a property, contact the Planning Division.

  • Heritage Conservation Area

    A Heritage Conservation Area (HCA) provides long-term protection to an entire area which demonstrates distinct heritage value and character as a whole. There is currently one HCA in New Westminster: the Queen’s Park Neighbourhood.

    An HCA places a layer of heritage protection over all properties within the identified area, regardless of construction age. In the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area, properties are classified in two categories: Protected and Non-Protected. Building Permit applications for some kinds of work (e.g., new buildings; demolition; or changes affecting the front, sides, or visible roofline of Protected properties) and subdivision applications require a Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP) and are reviewed for design guideline compliance. For Protected properties, an HAP and additional review is also given for exterior changes that do not require a Building Permit.

    The City has a Heritage Property Maintenance Standards Bylaw which applies to Protected properties. The purpose of this bylaw is to establish minimum standards of maintenance and ensure heritage properties are not lost through neglect or a lack of maintenance. Standard maintenance, such as replacement of materials in-kind, does not require an HAP.

    Advantages of having a Protected property include incentives, such as additional density, special provisions in the B.C. Building Code, density transfer and relaxed design guidelines for laneway and carriage houses, and no heritage permit fees

    To learn more about the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area, click here.

  • Heritage Revitalization Agreements

    A Heritage Revitalization Agreement is a form of long-term, legal protection. It is a formal, voluntary, written agreement that is negotiated between a property owner and the City which is enabled through a bylaw, and registered on Title.

    A Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) outlines the duties and obligations of, and the benefits to both parties of the agreement. In exchange for retention of a heritage building and some restoration work, an HRA allows the City to supersede local zoning regulations and to provide non-financial incentives which would make it viable to conserve the property. Each agreement is written to suit unique properties and situations. Every HRA is different from the next, and do not create precedence. Heritage properties subject to an HRA are also Designated.

    HRA Process

    Any property that has heritage value is eligible for an HRA. The HRA process is a public process, similar to rezoning, and must ultimately be approved by Council. The applications may take approximately 6 to 18 months. The length of the HRA process will depend multiple factors, including Council and committee schedules, the complexity of the proposal, public feedback received, and the ability of the applicant to provide responses, materials, and information when required.

    There are three stages of an HRA application: staff review and technical analysis, public consultation, and Council consideration. If Council decides to move forward with the HRA process, a Public Hearing will be held before the Heritage Revitalization Bylaw and Designation Bylaw are adopted.

    Resources

    Guide: Heritage Revitalization Agreements

    City Policy for the Use of Heritage Revitalization Agreements

    Development Information Sign Requirements

    Development Application Fees

    To see whether a property is protected by an HRA or to learn more about past HRA projects, view the Heritage Protection Map. For information on the status of on-going HRA projects, visit the Projects on the Go webpage.

  • Heritage Alteration Permits

    A heritage alteration permit allows and manages changes to protected heritage properties.

    Proposed alterations and additions to protected heritage properties are reviewed through a permit process to determine the appropriateness of the changes in relation to the character defining elements of the building. A Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP) may be required if a building is protected. By:

    An HAP allows the City to respond to the changing needs of a property and its owners over time For an HAP to be approved, the changes proposed must be consistent with the intent of the heritage protection bylaws. Standard maintenance, such as replacement of materials in-kind, does not require a permit.

    There is no fee for an HAP for changes to a protected building. There are fees associated with HAP for demolition, and for design review of new construction (including laneway or carriage houses) in the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area.

    Is your house in the Queen's Park neighbourhood? Click here to learn more about building or renovating in Queen's Park Heritage Conservation Area for information about HAPs and which work requires them.

    To see whether a property has heritage protection that would require an HAP to authorize work, view the Heritage Protection Map

    Heritage Alteration Permit Application Form

  • Heritage Property Maintenance Standards Bylaw

    This bylaw enforces maintenance standards for protected heritage properties.

    The Heritage Property Maintenance Standards Bylaw requires an owner of protected property to keep their historic building, and identified architectural features and landscape features, in good repair. This bylaw allows the City to ensure that important heritage properties are not lost due to neglect or lack of maintenance.

    Protected heritage property those with a Designation Bylaw, a Heritage Revitalization Agreement, and/or protected in the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area.

    Heritage Property Maintenance Standards Bylaw

  • Columbia Street is a Historic District, as identified in the Downtown Community Plan. The Heritage Area Revitalization Program (HARP) Guidelines help ensure changes to historic buildings in this area are respectful of the heritage value of the existing properties. The following proposed changes are evaluated using the guidelines:

    Columbia Street Heritage Area Revitalization Program (HARP) Guidelines