Recognizing the need for preservation at the municipal level, the Ontario Government established legislation for the preservation of heritage properties in 1974 with the passage of the Ontario Heritage Act. Municipalities were delegated the authority to take an active role in the conservation and preservation of heritage properties found within their boundaries. Specifically, the act enables the municipal council to designate, protect and enhance properties and areas of architectural, historical and contextual value.
In April, 2005, the Ontario Heritage Act was strengthened to provide municipalities and the province with enhanced powers to Conserve Ontario's heritage. A number of improvements were made with respect to designation providing a clearer process and better protection for designated properties, including protection from demolition.
In 1976, the City of St. Catharines established the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC) to advise Council regarding heritage conservation measures as set out in the Ontario Heritage Act. Today, there are two advisory committees, namely the Heritage Advisory Committee (formerly LACAC) and the Heritage Permit Advisory Committee, that advise Council on heritage matters.
Since that time, more than 40 individual properties have been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. In addition, the Queen Street Heritage Conservation District designation received final approval from the Ontario Municipal Board in 1992. The Yates Street area was designated as a second heritage district in 1996, Port Dalhousie was designated in 2003 and in 2010, the Power Glen Heritage Conservation District was designated.
If you live in a designated heritage home or are located within one of the city's heritage districts, you may be required to complete and submit a heritage permit application prior to making certain changes to your property.
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