The City of Nelson is changing the way it protects heritage.

Duties of Nelson heritage watchdog shift

City commissions charged with dealing with heritage issues in Nelson will be seeing a major overhaul.

City commissions charged with dealing with heritage issues in Nelson will be seeing a major overhaul after a staff recommendation at a committee of the whole meeting late last month.

The recommendation came after concerns from councillor Paula Kiss around the efficiency of Community Heritage Commission and Advisory Planning Commission.

Based on the conversation at the May council meeting, the Community Heritage Commission and the Advisory Planning Committee will be dissolved and their responsibilities shifted to a new Cultural Development Committee.

Councillor Robin Cherbo — who voiced concerns about the changes in May — said the city should be considering the public good in the decision to change the committees.

“I am concerned about what this move means for the preservation of heritage in the city,” he said. “The committees have no teeth, what if a proponent makes changes to heritage aspects of a building, what do we have that can make them repair the damages?”

The Cultural Development Committee, which was formerly the Cultural Development Commission, will have members from both the old Heritage Commission and the Planning Commission to preserve a voice from the heritage interests.

Changes were made to several city policies including rescinding the Community Heritage Commission Referral Policy and changing the wording Cultural Development Commission to Cultural Development Committee in policies like the Mural and Art and Public Places Policy.

Manager of development services and sustainability Dave Wahn said this is likely just the beginning of policy rewrites.

“We may not get it right the first time,” he said. “We need this process to be as transparent and as comprehensive as possible.”

Council discussed concerns around whether all members of the new commission should be local and how many people should sit on the commission.

City manager Kevin Cormack said the intension of the new commission is to meant to represent the interests of the community not to make technical decisions around planning and heritage.

The new commission will marry both arts and culture interests with heritage.

The recommendation will come before council as a resolution in an upcoming council meeting.

 

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