Dilkusha Heritage Society of BC Q&A

How will you include the entire community in the Heritage and Arts dialogue in City Council decision making?

The Cultural Master Plan Taskforce recommended to Council that a cultural master plan be included in the budget and the city work plan. It will proceed yet this year and will include an asset inventory and gap analysis as well as community input. This will support, in a more rigorous way, the existing initiatives including the annual fee for service agreement with Haney Heritage Society and Museum of $138,000 per year. Last but not least, the City’s Heritage Commission, the only council committee to have its own strategy and modest budget, is comprised of dedicated, informed and passionate volunteers who, over this past term, have completed a number of projects and initiatives outlined in the strategy.

In what ways do you intend to preserve Heritage in Salmon Arm: our buildings, sites, and their stories?

The current heritage register identifies buildings of historical significance and an additional inventory of dozens of properties have been identified. This would allow for homeowners and associations seeking heritage designation to apply for the next in-take of applicants for this special status which protects the property from demolition or significant renovation without a recommendation from the Commission to Council. In addition, a community plaque program is near completion and a residence plaque program is under consideration by the Commission. The city’s support of Haney Heritage empowers us as a community to tell our history through exhibits and events. In addition, as a city, an annual contribution is made to the Shuswap Foundation providing important grant opportunities for events and initiatives.

Do you support the City of Salmon Arm taking an active leadership role in supporting the preservation of our Heritage Buildings and properties by offering financial incentives to property owners for the costs of restoration and repairs? These incentives could take the form of grants, technical support, or possibly a tax break in special cases.

This would need to be considered under the lens of a revitalization tax credit as has been done for downtown commercial properties and industrial properties. It would necessitate significant study and budget allocation as well as approval from the province. It does not, in an of itself provide grants or rebates, but forgives a portion of tax tied to the improvements over a short period of time. It is not included in the current heritage strategy and would need to be first considered by the Commission. I would not, however, be in favour of direct granting of funds for these purposes. Heritage is also a concern of the province and the federal government and if legislation and grant opportunities were made available, the Commission and staff, could, under the direction of Council, facilitate a process to inform and guide citizens through such opportunities.

How do you plan to balance urban renewal and redevelopment with the conservation of Heritage, and encourage developers to integrate the new with the existing?

Collaboration and communication are key. In the last term, the Commission recommended to Council that developers be encouraged to name new developments being mindful of local heritage. To take this further, a invitation of say, SCIP, representing the builders, to a commission meeting to inform and explain the purposes of the Commission could be a good opportunity. I have found local developers to be thoughtful and mindful of the long term role they play in the community and some attention has been paid to reflecting our shared stories through their projects.