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Future of Delta heritage levy under review

Rule changes by city last year were aimed at making it a little easier for homeowners to apply for the grant
delta, bc black residence
The Black Residence is located on the Roberts Bank Back-Up Lands.

Delta council recently agreed to award a $30,000 Heritage Conservation Grant for the owners of the Black Residence for exterior alterations and restorations.

Initiated a couple of years ago, the grant program is a levy of five per cent that’s applied to all new building permits, which is added to a fund to promote heritage conservation initiatives.

Owners of heritage buildings in Delta can apply for money from that pot of funding to complete works that preserve and protect their heritage buildings.

Late last year, the city made several revisions to the program because only few property owners had applied.

To make it easier and more worthwhile, the changes included, among other things, reducing the number of required cost estimates from property owners, streamlining the legal documentation requirements for grant recipients proposing minor repairs and renovations, as well as increasing the maximum annual financial assistance from $15,000 to $30,000.

Owners still must agree to include their buildings on Delta’s Heritage Register and also enter into a restrictive covenant to protect the building from demolition for a period of 10 years.

A staff report notes the owners of the historic Black Residence applied for the maximum $30,000 grant for the renovation project, which the owners estimated would cost about $290,000.

Located at 3395 41B Street, the house was constructed in 1911 and is an example of an Edwardian era foursquare farmhouse. The house was built for David and Dora Black by prominent local contractor James Leonard.

The building is already on the Municipal Heritage Register and is protected under a Heritage Revitalization Agreement.

As far as what the city has left in the Heritage Conservation Grant fund, the report notes the balance is $354,000.

Council had previously directed that staff review the five percent heritage levy as part of a Delta review of application fees, a review that is already underway.