COQUITLAM, B.C., April 13, 2021 – Coquitlam is considering a new process for protecting heritage sites on private property as it develops its new heritage strategy.
The City plans to adopt a Heritage Management Strategy (HMS) this year that will establish a community vision for heritage and provide a comprehensive approach for how heritage is assessed, recognized, preserved and celebrated in Coquitlam.
Last night, staff reported to Council on the most recent public feedback and outlined a new innovative approach being considered for Heritage Revitalization Agreements – a key tool for protecting heritage assets on private property – to be incorporated in the draft HMS and presented to Council this fall.
Improved Process for Heritage Revitalization Agreements
A common heritage-protection tool for municipalities, Heritage Revitalization Agreements (HRA) provide property owners with incentives – such as reduced development fees, parking exemptions or additional units or space – in exchange for conserving heritage buildings or features on their land.
While Coquitlam, with 17 HRAs, is a regional leader in protecting valued heritage assets, staff working on the HMS identified opportunities to improve clarity and consistency throughout the process. The proposed new three-step HRA application process would include:
- A Heritage Assessment Template that would score HRA applications based in part on Coquitlam’s unique heritage themes;
- For applications selected to proceed, a HRA Evaluation Tool that would factor in both heritage and development information, and assess the application against a standard list of criteria to determine the appropriate type and level of incentive; and
- A new staff review process that would draw on in-house heritage and development expertise, and provide staff training to build the City’s capacity in this area.
Additional policy improvements would also be built into the process to identify and recognize heritage assets and provide guidance on parameters, such as the types of buildings and incentives that may be considered.
Stakeholder Input for Strategy Approach
Going beyond buildings and places, the proposed strategy would be framed around the heritage of natural geography, governance and institutions, settlement and multiculturalism, the local economy, community life and events, transportation and communication, and community identity.
Public engagement on the proposed heritage themes, vision and values for the HMS took place last fall, garnering 208 survey responses and 774 visits to the public engagement webpage, www.letstalkcoquitlam.ca/heritage. An easy-to-read infographic summary of the survey results is also available on the engagement page.
While most of the public responses supported the approach, some participants highlighted the importance of reflecting Coquitlam’s diverse communities, along with recognition of the natural environment and long-time stewardship efforts, in Coquitlam’s heritage.
City staff have been working with staff from the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation to ensure the HMS accurately reflects local Indigenous perspectives, and received feedback on the heritage themes, vision and values from Coquitlam Heritage, as well as the City’s Multiculturalism Advisory Committee, Culture Services Advisory Committee and Economic Development Advisory Committee.
With Council’s support of the proposed new HRA approach, staff will continue to develop the improved new process and policies over the coming months. The public feedback received will also be considered as staff refine the themes, vision and heritage values and build out the draft HMS to present to Council this fall.
More information and background is posted at www.coquitlam.ca/hms and linked to the consultation website www.letstalkcoquitlam.ca/heritage.
Those interested in HMS updates can also subscribe to notifications at www.coquitlam.ca/notifyme.
City of Coquitlam