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Delta heritage preservation efforts expand

Civic strategy includes new initiatives and more conservation areas are being considered
An example of heritage preservation is the Frederick Residence on Arthur Drive, which received Delta’s Heritage Award of Merit in 2009. It was built in 1920 as a retirement residence for William Frederick and his wife Sarah.

Delta is looking at a number of ideas when it comes to heritage conservation, including expanding heritage conservation areas in Ladner.

Two heritage conservation areas, on Arthur Drive and 48th Avenue, currently exist, which require specific alteration permits prior to changes to land or structures. Proposals must meet certain guidelines when it comes to building height and setbacks.

Last summer, Delta council approved a new Heritage Strategy in which a study of heritage conservation areas was initiated.

“The study is to explore the possibility of expanding or adding to existing heritage conservation areas in Ladner. Heritage conservation areas are intended to protect existing heritage landmarks and landscapes, encourage preservation and restoration of heritage buildings or structures, and ensure that new development is sensitive to the heritage context,” according to the city.

The city held an information meeting for residents in February to gather feedback. Planner Susan Elbe told the Optimist a consultant has prepared a discussion paper on the potential expansion of heritage conservation areas, but at this point the city is only in the discussion stage with residents.

A number of other options could be explored such as changes in the zoning bylaw to provide density bonuses for property owners to maintain heritage structures, she said. 

Council adopted a number of other initiatives along with the updated Heritage Strategy, including a bylaw that establishes standards of maintenance for protected heritage properties so the buildings are not allowed to deteriorate through neglect.

Council also approved a policy which prioritizes restoration of heritage buildings when they are part of a larger development.

Also new is a heritage conservation levy of five per cent that’s applied to all new building permits, which will be added to a fund to promote heritage conservation initiatives.

Owners of heritage buildings in Delta can apply for money from this new fund to complete works that preserve and protect their heritage buildings. Applications are on a first-come, first-served basis for a maximum of 50 per cent of the capital cost of projects. The maximum any property owner can obtain in a single year is $15,000.

The planning department last month noted $46,000 had already been collected for the fund since council approved the special levy last summer.