What is a Community Heritage Register?

A Community Heritage Register is a list of heritage buildings, sites and structures that have heritage value. It informs owners of heritage factors which can affect a property’s development options and allows us to track proposed changes through the heritage alteration and building permit process. It also helps us to promote the City’s heritage resources.

View the Community Heritage Register online or request a printed copy by contacting us directly.

Why a Community Heritage Register?

In 1994, the Province gave us the ability to use policy and incentives to encourage conservation of heritage buildings, structures and sites. One of the key tools was the Community Heritage Register.

What is the purpose of a Community Heritage Register?

The Community Heritage Register is an official list of our heritage resources. It allows us to monitor proposed changes to heritage buildings, structures and sites through the heritage alteration and building permit processes. Inclusion  on the Register does not constitute heritage protection. The Register may, however, be used to flag heritage resources for possible future protection.

What are the benefits of being listed on the Community Heritage Register?

The Community Heritage Register identifies the heritage value of a building, site or structure and ensures that building owners and prospective buyers are aware of the its heritage status. Buildings on the Register can take advantage of special “equivalency” provisions contained in the BC Building Code Heritage Building Supplement and can be eligible for municipal grants (such as our Heritage Facade GrantHeritage Home Grant and Heritage Property Tax Exemptions). They can also qualify for non-monetary incentives such as zoning regulation relaxation and development bonuses.

What powers are conferred to the City under a Community Heritage Register?

Under the Local Government Act, temporary protection measures for property listed in a Community Heritage Register allow Council, if it so chooses, up to 60 days to withhold issuance of a demolition, building or development approval. This allows us time to collect more information on a property including a detailed inspection of the heritage features of the property. This period of time also provides the opportunity for us to discuss any options for long-term protection with the property owner.  Based on the information collected, City staff are required to write a report to Council outlining conservation options for their consideration before the temporary protection period expires.

My property is listed on the Register. Does this mean my property is legally designated?

No. Having your property listed on the Community Heritage Register does not constitute heritage designation. A designated heritage property is legally protected by the City. Only six properties have been designated by the City since the 1970s:

  • Beban House (2290 Bowen Road)
  • The Rowbottom Residence (100 Cameron Road)
  • The Earl Block (2-4 Church Street)
  • The Great National Land Building (5-17 Church Street)
  • The Bastion (98 Front Street)
  • Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway Station (321 Selby Street)

Does being listed on the Register mean that I cannot demolish my building?

No. We can only prohibit demolition if the property is legally designated.

Does being listed on the register mean that I cannot redevelop my property?

No. Being listed on the Register does not restrict an owner from developing or redeveloping their property within the provisions of other City bylaw regulations.

My property is not listed on the Register, but I'd like to have it added. How are buildings added?

Additions to the register are approved by Council (usually annually). To nominate a building for addition to the register, please complete and submit a Nomination Form or contact us directly.

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Last updated: June 30, 2023

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