A CALL TO ACTION
What Others Are Saying
“I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I support the requests made by President Foster on behalf of Heritage BC. There is not one of us, who travel this incredible province, that doesn’t make a point of looking for the local museum and historic site to spend time trying to trace the history of the amazing communities that make up our province. Once these things are gone they cannot be replaced Minister, so I’m asking you very sincerely to remind your colleagues around the Cabinet table that what is being sought is minor, and on the business argument side, when communities preserve their heritage they are far more desirable to tourists as well as investors.”
Leonard Krog, MLA, Nanaimo
(To Hon. Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, August 26, 2010)
“As you know, the province is feeling the effects of the economic downturn. We are, however, starting to see some promising changes as a result of our efforts to turn things around. We look forward to being in a better position to support the arts, culture and sports in our province.”
Premier Gordon Campbell
(To Larry Foster, President, Heritage BC, September 9, 2010)
“On behalf of the City of Nelson Community Heritage Commission, I am writing to urge you to renew BC’s heritage program. As you are aware, British Columbians greatly value our heritage and strongly wish to preserve it. Residents of the Nelson area particularly value the contribution of heritage to our local economy and to tourism, as well as to our civic pride. Many of us, through our local governments, commissions and societies, have dedicated ourselves to support that value. We have been aided in that support by the Provincial heritage initiatives. ..
However, the support from the Province has been severely eroded, with the result that our efforts are not being enhanced by financial and planning assistance from the Province. We cannot “go it alone”. We require that expertise and financial backing.”
Marilyn Miller, Chair, City of Nelson Community Heritage Commission
(To Premier Gordon Campbell, and Hon. Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, September 28, 2010)
“Thank you for your letter of August 19, 2010, enclosing Heritage BC’s message, “A Call to Renew British Columbia’s Heritage Program”. Your submission captures many of the challenges facing our province in our conservation of historic places, and I can assure you that we share the same concerns.”
Hon. Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts
(To Larry Foster, President, Heritage BC, October 1, 2010)
“Preserving, recognizing and educating about BC’s and Canada’s history and heritage is a vital component of what makes this country and this province a vibrant, democratic and cultural place to live, work and visit. Our museum, along with many others, has been impacted by the cuts in funding for heritage and culture at the Provincial level. These cuts in funding adversely affect our ability to preserve our heritage and history and to serve and educate the public.
We strongly, and unequivocally, believe in the value of preserving and educating about BC’s and Canada’s history and heritage in honour and acknowledgement of past generations and for the benefit and knowledge of current and future generations. To this end, we at the North Peace Historical Society strongly believe in, and encourage, the renewal and support of British Columbia’s heritage program.”
Evelyn Sim, Board President, North Peace Historical Society
(To Hon. Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, October 6, 2010)
“The Board of Directors of the Victoria Heritage Foundation wishes to express its deep concern about the severity of funding cuts and cancellations to British Columbia’s heritage program. We are urging you in the strongest possible terms to renew the Province’s commitment to BC’s heritage programs by establishing stable provincial funding and resources as submitted to you recently by Heritage BC in their document entitled A Call to Renew British Columbia’s Heritage Program.”
Andrew Rushforth, President, Victoria Heritage Foundation
(To Premier Gordon Campbell, October 18, 2010)
“Thank you for your letter regarding British Columbia’s heritage program with the attached information from Heritage BC.
As you are aware, this topic is important to many British Columbians. You highlight a potential examination which my office could take on. I have passed your correspondence on to my staff as they consider the many audits they could address in their long-term plans. This way, the matter you have raised can be taken into account.”
John Doyle, Auditor General of B.C.
(To Spencer Chandra Herbert, arts and culture critic, Official Opposition, Government of British Columbia, October 22, 2010)
“Community heritage conservation is absolutely crucial to sustainable communities, the environment, and green building practices. Provincial programs to promote the rehabilitation of existing heritage buildings should be the shining cornerstone of provincial efforts to build and maintain sustainable communities.
Except for a handful of provincial heritage properties, most of BC’s heritage is compromised of non-profit and privately owned commercial, industrial, institutional, residential resources found in cities, towns, villages, and rural areas throughout BC. These heritage resources form the heartbeat of BC’s downtowns and neighbourhoods in urban centres and small village alike, reflecting BC’s amazing cultural diversity, giving life and identity to communities, and strongly supporting local economic vibrancy through commerce and tourism.
As determined by the Province of BC, most BC heritage resources are administered at the local level by local governments. While the Province has placed responsibility for heritage conservation on local governments, provincial funding and program support have weakened to the point of collapse for many BC communities. While at present Victoria is large enough to have sufficient resources to sustain an incentive program, this is certainly not the case for most local governments in BC, particularly for small communities.
It is our opinions that an endowment investment in the Heritage Legacy Fund of BC to provide community grants and fund Heritage BC is of highest priority at this time to stimulate heritage conservation and economic activity. This top priority is followed by the vital need to restore community heritage services, funding and support; to restore the Heritage Branch budget; and to adopt the draft Provincial Heritage Strategy. In order to free up and provide the necessary resources to fund these critical priorities, we strongly urge you to put an immediate end to the on-going provincial heritage properties problem.”
Roger Tinney, President, Victoria Civic Heritage Trust
(To Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, November 16, 2010)
“From a global historical perspective, British Columbia is young, and part of our challenge is to recognize and protect those features from British Columbia’s past that are of heritage value now, especially in terms of looking to the future. The education of future generations as to who we are, what we value and where we came from, will give them understanding of how they came to be. Therefore, the Town of Gibsons urges that the provincial heritage program be a priority of the provincial government as it is of importance to all British Columbians, past, present and future.”
Mayor Barry Janyk, Town of Gibsons
(To Premier Gordon Campbell and Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, December 3, 2010)
“The Government of British Columbia has, in the past, supported the important economic and cultural program of heritage conservation in the province. For decades, BC led the rest of the country in heritage conservation initiatives through heritage legislation, the creation of the Heritage Branch and ‘Heritage BC’, reliable funding sources, and other means.
The City of New Westminster has participated in and benefited significantly from the above initiatives and, in particular, from the support of the provincial Heritage Branch and Heritage BC in order to establish a strong and progressive municipal heritage program of which we are very proud.
It is, therefore, of great concern that BC’s heritage program is now in a state of crisis.”
Wayne Wright, Mayor of New Westminster
(To Premier Gordon Campbell, December 13, 2010)
“Heritage, as a draw for cultural tourism, one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry, is an important asset for economic development in Kelowna. The loss of heritage resources and the opportunity for people to experience the area’s unique identity could continue to negatively impact Kelowna’s economy.”
Mayor Sharon Shepherd, Kelowna
(To Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, December 14, 2010)
At the Victoria City Council Meeting of December 16, 2010, Council passed the following resolution:
"Whereas, the Province of British Columbia has a responsibility to support and conserve the heritage resources of the province;
And whereas, funding cuts to the Heritage Branch, Heritage BC and to local governments across the province have resulted in a state of crisis for heritage conservation;
And whereas, the City of Victoria has demonstrated its commitment to heritage conservation and shown how financial investments can stimulate urban revitalization, employment, tourism and pride in its community;
The City of Victoria urges the Province of British Columbia to renew its commitment to heritage conservation in the following manner:
1. Invest a further $10 million in the Heritage Legacy Fund
2. Restore community support for both local government and community heritage organizations such as Heritage BC.
3. Adopt the draft Provincial Heritage Strategy.
4. Restore the budget of the Heritage Branch
5. Resolve the Heritage Properties question.”
Robert G. Woodland, Corporate Administrator, City of Victoria
(To Premier Gordon Campbell and Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, December 20, 2010)
"...heritage programs in our province continue to decline in funding, and seemingly interest, by the provincial government…We support Heritage BC’s call to renew the provincial heritage program and the five recommendations for action…Specific to Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, heritage tourism remains one of our key visitor drivers. The maintenance of our heritage resources is a positive investment in the local economy and important stimulus to tourism.”
Rob Gialloreto, President and CEO, Tourism Victoria
(To Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 6, 2011)
“Our Society sees eye to eye on this issue with our municipal government…the provincial government should be a leader in heritage conservation and a strong partner with BC communities as they strive to conserve their irreplaceable historic resources.”
Krystal Leason, Operations Manager, Huble Homestead/Giscome Portage Heritage Society
(To Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 7, 2011)
Since grants and funding have been cut so dramatically, small historical groups such as ours are struggling to maintain and preserve what have protected for many years. We rely on many volunteers to keep our doors open, but we are finding that the general maintenance of the museum’s CPR station has been put on the back burner too long.
As a local treasure, our museum in the 118 year-old CPR station attracts many tourisms, and protects our valuable artifacts from bygone years, including our collection of over 7,000 photographs, our local newspapers dating back to the 1920’s, and so many other treasures of our Canadian past.
But we simply cannot raise enough funds to preserve our buildings, culture and history by such activities as holding bake sales and depending on our local merchants for donations.
Joan Vogstad, President, Agassiz Harrison Historical Society (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 17, 2011)
I would like to emphasize the importance of the leadership and networking support provided by both the Heritage Branch and Heritage BC in regards to Nanaimo’s success. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine development of the City’s heritage conservation policy and initiatives without the support of these two organizations…in our experience, investment in heritage buildings at all government levels is an effective economic development tool which cannot be overemphasized. The investment spinoffs go well beyond conservation of individual heritage buildings and include local multiplier effects related to increased tourism, business activity, community pride and sustainability. The improved vibrancy and economic health of our downtown core is in part a testament to sound conservation policy and investment in heritage initiatives.
Mayor John Ruttan, City of Nanaimo (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 24, 2011)
We believe that heritage conservation is basic to quality of life and the sense of place that is distinctive to each community. Maintaining our heritage resources is a positive investment in the local economy and important stimulus to tourism. Heritage conservation should also be a part of a sustainable future.
Gail Salter, Chair, Armstrong Heritage Advisory Committee (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 24, 2011)
Along with natural environmental beauty, heritage forms the foundation of the City of Revelstoke, and has been the catalyst for our vibrant, healthy, clean, hospitable, resilient, and forward thinking community. Previously received Heritage funding and grants have been essential in developing a system of policies, bylaws and information to support Revelstoke’s extensive heritage. It is Revelstoke’s heritage landscapes, buildings, and neighbourhood form that naturally educates people of our history and of a more sustainable past where community came first.
Mike Dragani, Chair, City of Revelstoke Community Heritage Commission (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment)
For many, many years Heritage BC has worked closely with BC communities and governments to encourage and nurture this important sense of self and place through training and workshops, professional advice and leadership, conferences, informational bulletins, and the latest Call to Renew British Columbia’s Heritage Program. Thanks to Heritage BC, communities across the province formed heritage commissions, saved local heritage sites, and promoted local history knowledge and appreciation. BC’s best heritage sites were supported and sustained by Heritage BC and the British Columbia heritage programme.
Elisabeth Duckworth, Kamloops Museum Supervisor (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 25, 2011)
These beliefs are reflected in the actions undertaken by the City and community organizations to preserve and enhance heritage buildings and sites in Fernie. To date the building restoration has included the Fernie Heritage Library, Fernie Arts Station (previously the Canadian Pacific Railway Station built in 1908), and the Catholic Church which received support from Heritage BC for the replacement of its unique slate roof. Further, the City has recently upgraded City Hall, (previously the Crowsnest Pass Coal Mining Company building) restoring the exterior façade, and at the same time enhancing building energy efficiency. Heritage and heritage preservation are fundamental to our community identify and economic future.
Mayor Cindy Corrigan, Fernie (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 25, 2011)
The bulk of conservation activity centres on investment by private property owners, largely motivated by incentives and encouragement. The provincial government should be a leader in heritage conservation and a strong partner with B.C. communities and private property owners as they strive to conserve their irreplaceable historic resources.
Robert Lemon, Architect ((to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 28, 2011)
...we observe the support for heritage and heritage tourism progressively receiving less and less focus and support form our government. An example in our case would be the classic Royal Hudson steam locomotive, which we lease from the Province. Our society fundraised over $800,000 to return this classic to operating condition and we maintain it this way for the Province today. While we did this, our one very small piece of Government funding support, our Direct Access Gaming Grant (which goes entirely to our education and community support activities), has been progressively reduced from around the $50,000 annual level to just $18,500 in 2010.
Don Evans, President & CEO, West Coast Railway Association (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, January 31, 2011)
In the Town of Ladysmith, with our slogan “Heritage by the Sea” and our ongoing commitment to preserving and celebrating our Town’s heritage, active support heritage conservation is essential. Maintaining heritage resources is a positive investment in the local economy, especially the growing tourism industry. It is also a cornerstone of a sustainable future.
Mayor Rob Hutchins, Town of Ladysmith (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, February 14, 2011)
…170 Groups in British Columbia rely on Heritage BC as a guiding force to assist them in conserving the built heritage in their communities. As a neighbourhood association in Kelowna for 17 years, we have both advocated and acted to help maintain a sense of place in our fast changing city…We support Heritage BC’s call to renew the provincial heritage program and the five recommendations for action.
Debby Helf, President, Kelowna South-Central Association of Neighbourhoods (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, February 21, 2011)
We support Heritage BC’s call to renew the provincial heritage program and the five recommendations for action. The provincial government should be a leader in heritage conservation and a strong partner with B.C. communities as they strive to conserve their irreplaceable historic resources.
Bob Elliott, Chair, Port Moody Heritage Commission (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, February 23, 2011)
…Heritage BC was able to get back to work through assistance from the Heritage Legacy Fund which decided that Heritage BC activities must be a priority. However, this decision has reduced the funds available for the support of community heritage projects. Accordingly, Council requests that your government restore funding and support for heritage conservation to a sustainable level.
Mayor Derek R. Corrigan, City of Burnaby (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, February 24, 2011)
Conservation efforts today remain a close partnership between government and community and recent funding cuts in British Columbia will lead to a significant gap between conservation efforts on the national and local levels. Conservation activities are no longer the activity of a few within a community as they may once have been perceived to be, but rather a reflection of the basic values that many embrace, practiced within a framework of provincial legislation and reliable funding that has assisted many local initiatives throughout the province.
Grace Muller, Chair, Township of Langley Heritage Advisory Committee (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, March 1, 2011)
The Sybil Andrews Heritage Society joins the call to renew British Columbia’s Heritage Program. Saving a heritage sites takes a vision, time, hard work, money, and support from local and provincial governments. More heritage buildings, like the Sybil Andrews and Walter Morgan Property, need to be saved from the “demolition by neglect.”
Carolyn Belanger, Secretary, Sybil Andrews Heritage Society, Campbell River (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, March 11, 2011)
The Township of Esquimalt has a strong commitment to heritage outlined in its 2009-2011 Strategic Plan. Esquimalt’s heritage is an important component of our community and Council has directed that Esquimalt’s significant heritage resources be identified and protected through the development of management programs to identify, conserve and interpret heritage resources, and the implementation of heritage conservation programs.
On March 7, 2011 Council duly passed a motion to support Heritage BC’s A Call to Renew British Columbia’s Heritage Program and endorse the five recommendations identified.
Carollyne Evans, Manager of Corporate Services, Township of Esquimalt (to Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, March 11, 2011)