ERIN – Hundreds of properties once deemed to have cultural or heritage value have been removed from Erin’s heritage register in “one fell swoop.”
Those remarks were made by councillor Jamie Cheyne at an April 27 meeting, when council voted to strike at least 420 low-priority, non-designated properties from the town’s heritage register.
Non-designated properties are those without formal heritage recognition under provincial law, but are deemed to be of cultural or heritage value to a municipality.
The properties — more than 600 in total were identified on the town’s heritage inventory list — were all added to Erin’s heritage registry in 2006.
But recent provincial changes through Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, mean non-designated properties are automatically booted from the registry under certain conditions, such as when a property isn’t officially granted heritage status within two years of the provincial changes.
Those properties also cannot be re-listed for five years after removal.
The Erin Heritage Committee set about choosing what properties to prioritize for designation, evaluating them based on architectural, historical and environmental criteria.
Over the next two years, before the provincial deadline hits, the committee will work to get those properties officially designated.
“The reality is we don’t have enough money to attack everything on the list, and the people that can do the designations … they are busy because of [Bill 23], so we cant get them all done, even if we had the money,” Cheyne told council.
There’s no guarantee all 180 category A and A/B properties selected will be granted heritage status (there are currently only three properties with designation on the town’s register).
Cheyne, a long-time heritage committee member and current council-appointee, emphasized the committee’s selections aren’t meant to insinuate that lower-priority properties aren’t important.
“That’s where we have to start,” he said. “We had to pick and do it in a financially-viable way.”
By focusing on downtowns and villages in Erin and Hillsburgh, Cheyne said the committee “will get the biggest bang for our buck.”
Council has approved $75,000 to be provided to the committee to tackle the work. Funds will come from the town’s fourth quarter surplus.
Town planning and development director Jack Krubnik, who prepared a report to council on the circumstances, anticipates the committee will require another $50,000 in the town’s 2024 budget to complete the work.
“In doing this work, one of the biggest challenges also is not only scope but time, and so we’re going to accomplish as much as we can in 2023 with the hope that the remainder of those ‘category A’ properties within Hillsburgh and Erin that were identified can be also evaluated within this and next calendar year,” Krubnik told council.
The full list of delisted properties is below:PD2023-11 Appendix A - List of Properties