As you may know, the proposed NB Heritage Conservation Act was introduced and has now had second reading in the Legislature. The Fredericton Heritage Trust has concerns about the efficacy of this new act and how it will affect the future of our non-renewable heritage resources. We're also concerned about the lack of consultation with the public and stakeholders. Consequently, I've attached a digital version of the Act here, along with some of my comments to illustrate where I see some of the shortcomings. I've attached it here to hopefully produce some dialogue and encourage all to do the same, and add their comments (ideally in a different coloured comment box) or in the text of an email.
NB Heritage Conservation Act
to read the current
NB Heritage Conservation Act
Generally, this document seems to largely be an amalgamation of the Historic Sites and Protection Act and the Municipal Heritage Preservation Act. While there is more detail added to this new act (versus the two listed above), very little is changing from the status quo. Two positive changes are the increase in fines and the change in attitude illustrated by the statement that all artifacts belong to the Crown (Native artifacts held by the Crown in trust for First Nations). With respect to the fines, while they have increased considerably, I’m not aware of fines ever being levied in the past when they were only a couple of thousand dollars maximum.
Essentially, municipalities are continuing to be able to create their own preservation by-laws as they see fit without any additional financial incentives coming from the provincial government or the ability of municipalities to abate some of their property taxes as encouragement for heritage preservation. This idea of letting municipalities decide their own future in heritage preservation counters the provincial governments claim that “Our built heritage, and our archaeological and palaeontological heritages are shared by all New Brunswickers, and the government has a responsibility to ensure that these heritage resources are conserved for future generations”(italics mine). Without leadership from the provincial government, our non-renewable built and buried heritage resources will continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate. I’ve recently heard some startling statistics on the volume of heritage homes levelled over a 7/8 year period in Fredericton - a few years back. And I suspect that this trend continues today (with varying intensity) throughout the province.
At the very least, we'd encourage your organisation to study the document and consider the long term ramifications if passed, and contact your local MLA to voice your thoughts. The Fredericton Heritage Trust would also like to extend an invitation to attend our Board Meeting on December 9th at 7pm at the Provincial Archives (23 Dineen Drive, UNB Campus, Fredericton) to discuss this proposed legislation.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments and feel free to distribute thoughts about the new legislation to me alone or the group as a whole.
Jason Jeandron, MPhil.
PO Box 393
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Cell: (506) 461-6626