The Vancouver Heritage Register is acknowledged as the cornerstone of the Vancouver’s Heritage programme. Adopted in 1986 by Vancouver City Council, the Heritage Register constitutes an important policy document, a registry of heritage sites that currently includes 2,150 buildings, and 131 landscapes, monuments and archaeological sites.
A key policy and planning tool designed to guide decision-making by Vancouver City’s Planning and Development Services departments, the Heritage Register offers city planners an invaluable registry of those sites which possess both heritage value and character. As such, the Heritage Register emerges as a significant planning tool which provides our City’s planners with an invaluable record of Vancouver’s heritage.
Unfortunately, the Heritage Register is 25 years out of date. As as a consequence, Vancouver streets and buildings that have architectural and historical significance do not appear on the Heritage Register.
“Twenty-five years is a long time. Our understanding of history and heritage has no doubt changed during that time. As residents committed to our City’s history, we need to ensure that heritage buildings are preserved in neighbourhoods across Vancouver,” declared COPE candidate for Vancouver City Council, RJ Aquino at COPE’s press conference on revitalizing the Heritage Register. “Recognizing our city’s heritage is vital in the creation of strong and vibrant communities.”
Added Tim Louis, COPE candidate for Vancouver City Council in the 2011 municipal election, “Vancouver is developing at a pace rarely experienced in our City’s history. The time is now to ensure that proposed new development doesn’t erase our past. When the heritage buildings that constitute a record of our City’s history are lost to new development, a part of our history is lost forever.”
The Heritage Vancouver Society has called for an update to the Heritage Register for more than 10 years, thus far without success. Every year, the Society creates a Top 10 list of Vancouver’s most endangered heritage sites; a significant number of the sites that have appeared on Heritage Vancouver Society’s historical preservation list do not appear on the Vancouver Heritage Register.
Coalition of Progressive Electors candidate for Vancouver City Council, Ellen Woodsworth, told the Saturday press conference, “COPE is committed to working with the City, as well as with concerned citizens in community groups across Vancouver, to ensure that updating the Heritage Register becomes a priority item in the next term of Vancouver City Council. COPE members of Council will initially focus on the key heritage sites that require our immediate attention, as COPE Council members move towards the adoption of a Council policy that will preserve significant architectural and historical sites for future generations.”
In closing the press conference, COPE candidate Tim Louis declared, “Recognizing our City’s rich cultural and architectural heritage is a vital component in creating sustainable and stronger communities for all of us who reside in neighbourhoods across and throughout Vancouver.”