Councillor Rawlson King introduced a motion at Ottawa City Council on December 7, 2022 to create a new Standing Committee for Built Heritage which was approved unanimously.
I have moved this motion with the support of our previous Planning Co-Chair, Councillor Gower, to create a full standing Built Heritage Committee for this new term of Council.
I believe that the creation of a new standing committee demonstrates our collective will as a municipality to protect, promote, and preserve our city's built heritage.
Bill 23 includes changes to the Ontario Heritage Act which will require the city to be more agile to protect its heritage resources.
The current model, where Built Heritage Sub-committee items need to rise to Planning Committee, could make it difficult for the city to meet statutory timelines for heritage approvals under new provincial legislative changes.
The creation of a full Built Heritage Committee will streamline the City’s legislative process by removing the need for additional approval through Planning Committee and will have minimum impact on City staff in terms of work and cost.
The creation of the new standing committee would also enhance its advocacy role. Most major municipalities in the province, including Toronto and Kingston, have had their respective Heritage Committees report directly to Council for years, which is befitting such large cities.
With a new challenging legislative environment being imposed by Queen's Park, and with our City now surpassing one million people, it is important that we signal our intent to protect Ottawa's superb built heritage, in an effort to maintain our special sense of place.
This motion does just that, and as I result, I ask for Council's support.