The latest opponent of the government’s Building Homes Faster legislation is the heritage community. The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario is asking residents to sign a petition protesting the legislation being proposed, known as Bill 23.
In a statement ACO Chair Diane Chin notes, “whether intended or not, the changes proposed for the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) in Schedule 6 of Bill 23 will make it practically impossible to protect most of Ontario’s identified heritage properties, let alone those not yet listed.”
“Two of the proposals stand out. Forcing the communities to drop “listed” properties from their heritage registers if they are not designated in two years and requiring that the standard for designation of properties be hiked from at least one of Ontario’s heritage criteria to two.”
“Requiring a property meet two of the legislated criteria for designation, instead of one, will make it challenging to protect the often-humble buildings and places associated with historic contributions of BIPOC, Franco-Ontarian, and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. This will seriously hamper communities like Little Jamaica or Kensington Market currently seeking heritage status and protection.”
“The change to the treatment of listed properties is equally confused, baffling and also counterproductive. Listing – placing a property on the Local Heritage Register as a non-designated property– recognizes cultural value without the expensive and cumbersome process required to “designate” under the Ontario Heritage Act. Listing is an important planning tool, imposing no conditions on property owners save for requiring 60 days’ notice of intent to demolish. There are thousands of listed properties across the province. Toronto has nearly 4000; there are just shy of 32,000 non-designated heritage properties across Ontario.”
The legislation has been delayed and will be brought back to the Legislature on Monday, November 28
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