Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis brought the issue up during the January 25 council session after receiving queries from residents about how they could access federal or provincial aid grants for heritage buildings.
“There’s a lot of information out there,” said Councillor Robert Lefebvre, citing the Ontario Heritage Act as one example. “But there are also a lot of processes involved. It (heritage designation) is a very tricky area to navigate.”
Lefebvre noted that Hawkesbury may have once had its own procedure for declaring a local building or property as a heritage site but he was not certain if it was still in force.
Dominique Dussault, interim chief administrator, told council that the planning department is occupied with finishing the revised Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for the municipality. She noted that the department could investigate and provide council with a report on the procedure for heritage property designation after staff finish the CIP.
Council members agreed with that suggestion. Mayor Paula Assaly also noted that property owners need to remember that there is a difference between a building or property designated a municipal heritage site and one like the Macdonnell-Williamson House near Chute-à-Blondeau in East Hawkesbury Township, which is part of the Ontario Heritage Trust. No significant changes are allowed to the exterior or interior of that building that would affect its overall heritage value.