Heritage Revitalization Agreement Policy Refresh


On May 30, 2022, Council endorsed pausing work on the Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) Policy Refresh program in response to significant staff resource challenges as well as backlog of projects that proceeded more slowly than usual during the pandemic. As such, the broader community consultation which was scheduled as the next phase of the HRA Refresh program will be delayed beyond its original timeline of spring/summer 2022.

Further discussion with Council will occur in the coming months regarding the timing for resumption of the work, as well as whether to end the suspension of HRA applications in the Heritage Conservation Area.

What the Policy Refresh Entails

Following Council direction on June 21, 2021, the 2011 Heritage Revitalization Agreements (HRAs) Policy is being updated. This will streamline the policy and align it with the 2017 Official Community Plan (OCP) and Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area. 
The update, called a “refresh”, looks to simplify the process for small scale HRA applications by making it clear to both applicants and community members what is required for protection and restoration of heritage assets, as well as the development incentives available to property owners through the program. See the project’s goals listed below or click here to learn more about HRAs!
  • Residents will be given the opportunity to provide comments on the policy Refresh program. Launch of the survey will be announced on this project page and the City’s Be Heard New West website. Stay tuned!

  • The focus of this development policy work will be those areas and building forms designated “Detached and Semi-Detached” and “Ground Oriented Infill” in the Official Community Plan (OCP). This includes houses, suites, laneway/carriage houses, small lots, duplexes, triplexes, and other infill in low density neighbourhoods such as Glenbrooke North, Sapperton, Queen’s Park, Moody Park, and the West End among others.
    These are the project types across the city for which there are the policy gaps but also great need. Such projects are often proposed on properties in the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area but not exclusively so. The policy gaps are also the same ones that Phase Two of the Infill Housing program would address in relation to non-heritage development proposals. Therefore, the two policy projects are being developed in a complementary way.
    All other types of HRA developments (such as: high-rise or commercial buildings) will continue to follow the current Development Application Review Process and 2011 policy. Click here for the guide to HRA applications.
  • The proposed Refresh will allow City staff to better address those policy gaps and concerns raised by applicants and community members by providing clear direction in processing HRAs. 
    The new policy would:
    • Refine the development incentives available 
    • Outline requirements for heritage protection and restoration
    • Define the community benefits provided through an HRA 
    • Update the policy to today’s standards and priorities
    • Maintain the strong and long-standing policy framework that currently exists 
    • Build on lessons learned from close to 40 small-scale HRAs completed in the past ten years, and
    • Address the project goals (see section below).
  • There are three main goals to this work:
    1. Increase clarity, certainty, and expectations for applicants and the community
      Increased clarity regarding project parameters such as density, number of units, and ownership model. This would ensure the community knows what to expect in their neighbourhood, and applicants know what type of development projects may be supported by the City.
    2. Provide equitable incentives and requirements city-wide
      Incentives offered through the updated HRA policy should provide equitable opportunities and requirements throughout the city. To achieve this, the new policy would situate the incentives and protection offered through the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area within the larger, city-wide context of heritage protection policy.
    3. Integrate with current City programs, policies, and Council priorities
      Other relevant City policies, such as increasing housing choice and improving energy efficiency of existing buildings, will shape the HRA policy to ensure alignment with Council priorities.
  • Milestone: Program Launch and Workplan
    Timeframe: August 30, 2021
    Information: Council Report
    Milestone: Research for Principles Development
    Timeframe: September-November 2021
    Information: Council Report
    Milestone: Community Consultation: Round 1
    Focus Groups (e.g. previous applicants) December – January 2022
    Information: Meeting minutes will be available on the committee’s webpages
    Milestone: Draft Policy for Use in Consultation
    Timeframe: TBD
    Milestone: Community Consultation: Round 2 (online survey)
    Timeframe: TBD
    Milestone: Policy Framework for Council’s Endorsement
    Timeframe: TBD


  • Upon Council’s endorsement of the updated policy, an implementation program will be prepared. Implementation will include:

    • Clarifying how the legal tools and processes work;
    • Developing the application procedures;
    • City internal, interdepartmental coordination of construction requirements;
    • Creation of public guides and resources, and educational outreach as required;
    • Updating of related documentation and policies.
  • Does the Refresh affect current HRA applications?

    The City is not accepting new HRA applications in the Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area for the duration of the Refresh. However, new applications are being accepted in other neighbourhoods. The results of the Refresh will not be applied retroactively to current projects, which will continue being reviewed under the original program they applied to.

    When will the HRA Refresh be completed?
    Council endorsed pausing the HRA Policy Refresh program due to staffing challenges and a backlog of projects following the pandemic. A revised timeline and completion date for this work has not yet been set. We will update this page with more details following discussions with Council on the resumption of the work.    

    How can I add to the conversation about the HRA Refresh?
    There will be an opportunity to provide your comments and feedback on the updated policy draft. A community-wide survey will be made available on the City’s Be Heard New West website. Stay tuned for more details!