Heritage Action Plan

People looking at house
Photograph by Vancouver Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Action Plan is a review of the policies and tools used to conserve and celebrate heritage resources. It was approved by Council in December 2013 to improve how the City supports heritage conservation in Vancouver. 

Actions implemented through the plan will result in an update of the City’s existing Heritage Conservation Program, which was originally established in 1986, Vancouver's centennial. 

Consultants, staff, and a public advisory committee are working on actions set out in the plan. You will also have numerous opportunities to provide your input.    

Key areas for action and implementation

The Heritage Action Plan has five key areas for action and implementation:

  1. Heritage Conservation Program review
  2. Heritage Register upgrade
  3. Character Home Zoning Review
  4. Sustainability initiatives
  5. Awareness and advocacy initiatives

 

Recent development with this initiative

Character Home Zoning Review

July 2016 - As part of the Heritage Action Plan, City Council directed us to amend RS single family zoning regulations to encourage retention of heritage and character homes in Vancouver.
Many of the city's older single family areas do not have zoning in place that protects their character and the older building stock.

We're currently exploring geographic and zoning options to manage the character of distinctive concentration areas of older homes in single family zoned neighbourhoods, and hope to do public consultation in the fall.

Public hearing on Heritage Conservation Area Official Development Plan (HCA ODP)

February 16, 2016 – City Council will consider bylaw amendments to the HCA ODP and related bylaws at a public hearing:

Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2016, at 6:00pm
Location: Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall at 453 West 12th Avenue

If approved, changes will be made to the following bylaws:

  1. HCA ODP Bylaw
  2. Heritage Procedure Bylaw
  3. Heritage Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw
  4. First Shaughnessy District Schedule to the Zoning and Development Bylaw
  5. Zoning and Development Bylaw

Register to speak at the meeting

First Shaughnessy designated Heritage Conservation Area

September 29, 2015 – Vancouver City Council established the First Shaughnessy District as the city’s first-ever Heritage Conservation Area.

Read the news item

Heritage Register nomination now closed

September 21, 2015 – Thank you for all of your nominations. The consultant is now analyzing submissions and will provide a report later in the year.

Help us update the Heritage Register – only three days left!

September 11, 2015 – We’re updating the Heritage Register and want your help. Tell us which heritage buildings or sites you think should be on the register, using the new simplified form.

Nominations are open until September 14, 2015.

Public hearing on rezoning for First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area reconvenes

August 12, 2015 – The public hearing on the rezoning of the First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area will reconvene on:

Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 6:00pm
Location: Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall at 453 West 12th Avenue

This is a continuation of the public hearing held on July 21 and July 28, 2015.

If you would like to speak at the continuation of this public hearing please email publichearing@vancouver.ca or call 604-829-4238. You can also register on the day of the continuation, 30 minutes before the hearing starts, at City Hall. You can also communicate your comments to City Council by emailing mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca. Anyone who has already spoken or submitted written comments may do so again.

Read the Council report and supporting materials, including the list of properties to be protected heritage property

Rezoning: First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area

July 22, 2015 – On July 21, 2015 Council commenced a public hearing regarding the rezoning of the First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area.

Subsequent to the close of public comments concerning this application, the City received a request that public comments be reopened to allow for further public comment on the document entitled "Economic Analysis of Proposed Changes to First Shaughnessy Zoning District: Supplemental Report" prepared by Coriolis Consulting Corporation.

The supplemental report was made available to the public on the afternoon of July 21, 2015.

In response, Council will reopen receipt of public comments in person or by written submission at a continuation of the public hearing on the Rezoning: First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area to be held as follows:

Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at 9:30am
Location: Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall at 453 West 12th Avenue

If you would like to speak at the continuation of this public hearing please email publichearing@vancouver.ca or call 604-829-4238. You can also register on the day of the continuation, 30 minutes before the hearing starts, at City Hall.  You can also communicate your comments to City Council by emailing mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

Persons who have already spoken or submitted written comments may do so again.

Get live meeting updates and watch the meeting

Public hearing for First Shaughnessy Heritage Conservation Area on July 21

July 8, 2015 – City Council will consider the proposed bylaws, including amendments to the Zoning and Development Bylaw and the creation of a Heritage Conservation Area Official Development Plan, at a public hearing.

If approved, the changes to First Shaughnessy will include establishment of a Heritage Conservation Area Official Development Plan, a new zoning district schedule, a new Heritage Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw, and a new Heritage Procedure Bylaw.

Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2015, at 6:00pm
Location: Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall at 453 West 12th Avenue

The two Heritage Action Plan staff reports and Council meeting agenda are now available online

June 4, 2015 – Both reports are scheduled for Council on Tuesday, June 9th at 9:30am. Please note, the First Shaughnessy report recommends the matter be referred to Public Hearing, at which time the public would have the opportunity to speak to Council on the recommendations. Speakers will not be heard next Tuesday on First Shaughnessy.

View the reports and Council meeting agenda

Help us update the Heritage Register

May 23, 2015 – We’re updating the Heritage Register and want your help. Tell us which heritage buildings or sites you think should be on the register, using the new simplified form.

Nominations are open until September 14, 2015.

Drop by #HeritageReboot on May 23 where history meets technology

May 11, 2015 – #HeritageReboot is a a fun, free event that combines modern technology with heritage conservation. The City of Vancouver, Vancouver Heritage Foundation, Vancouver Archives, and Heritage Vancouver will launch new digital projects that open up Vancouver’s heritage in new ways for everyone.

You'll get hands-on experience using technology to discover the past, the City’s Heritage Action Plan open house, and tours of Yaletown and Engine 374 at the Roundhouse. Get the details:

Saturday, May 23, 1:00pm to 4:30pm at 181 Roundhouse Mews

Share your views on the proposed zoning changes to enhance heritage conservation in First Shaughnessy

May 8, 2015 – Thank you to everyone who completed the questionnaire. We're now analyzing your feedback. 

April 30, 2015 – Tell us what you think about the proposed changes in our online questionnaire by Friday, May 8. Your feedback will be shared with City Council.

Information session on proposed zoning changes for First Shaughnessy

April 14, 2015 – The First Shaughnessy Official Development Plan is being reviewed to ensure greater retention of heritage homes and improve compatibility of new development. The proposals are based on consultant recommendations and public consultation.

Read the information session display panels (639 KB)

Attend one of the upcoming information sessions to learn more:

Vancouver Heritage Awards People's Choice award

May 11, 2015 – Thank you to everyone who completed the questionnaire. We're now analyzing your feedback.

April 14, 2015 – The nominations are in for the Vancouver Heritage Awards People's Choice. Now it's time to vote! Rate your favourites by April 29.

Submit a nomination for the People's Choice Award

March 23, 2015 – Submit a nomination for the People's Choice Heritage Awards, to be held in conjunction with the City Heritage Awards. 

Learn more about the Heritage and People's Choice awards

Thank you for taking our questionnaires

March 16, 2015 – We're now analyzing the feedback we received and will post the results of the surveys after.

What do you think about heritage conservation in Vancouver?

February 23, 2015 – Share your views about the importance of heritage and conserving historic places in Vancouver in our two questionnaires. Your feedback will help us update our Heritage Conservation Program and improve how we support heritage conservation in Vancouver. The questionnaires close on Friday, March 13.

Questionnaire #1: heritage buildings and conservation

Got 7 minutes? Tell us:

  • How you feel about the importance of heritage and conserving historic places in Vancouver
  • How you think we're doing with conserving historic and character buildings

Questionnaire #2: Heritage Conservation Program improvements and the conservation of heritage and character homes

Got 20 minutes? Live in Shaughnessy, Dunbar-Southlands, Arbutus-Ridge, Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, or Hastings-Sunrise? Tell us:

  • How you feel about the draft vision, goals and strategic directions for the Heritage Conservation Program
  • What ways you prefer to encourage conservation of heritage and character homes in:
    • First Shaughnessy District
    • Certain single family zones in Dunbar-Southlands, Arbutus-Ridge, Kerrisdale, and parts of Kitsilano and Hastings-Sunrise

We recommend reading the open house information displays below before taking the questionnaire.

Read the open house information displays  (3 MB)

Open houses to launch plan and review of character homes

February 18, 2015 – Share your ideas about future improvements and initiatives for our Heritage Conservation Program, and ways to support preserving more heritage homes and to encourage retaining pre-1940 homes. Join us at one of our open houses:

New building bylaw provisions protect heritage buildings 

December 3, 2014 – The deputy chief building official published a bulletin on the alternate methods now considered in the 2014 Vancouver Building Bylaw to conserve heritage buildings and those with heritage character merit.

Read the Vancouver Building Bylaw bulletin  (69 KB)

Review of the Heritage Conservation Program

Fall 2014 – Work began with an advisory committee made up of key stakeholders and consultants to review the current Heritage Conservation Program by looking at best practices and how to improve processes. Heritage consultants began researching and assessing options to encourage the retention of character homes.

Council adopts temporary procedures to protect pre-1940 character homes

June 10, 2014 Council adopted the following temporary procedures to protect pre-1940 character homes:

  • Prohibit the demolition of character homes in the First Shaughnessy District (architectural and heritage area that is bordered by 16th Avenue, Oak Street, King Edward Avenue, and East Boulevard) for one year to allow for a zoning review and development of enhanced heritage retention tools, as a quick start of the Heritage Action Plan. This temporary protection period extends to June 24, 2015. 
  • Review the character merit of pre-1940 houses proposed for demolition in certain zones of the city. If a house is deemed to have character merit, property owners can take advantage of discretionary zoning density increases if they choose to retain the home.
  • Expedite smaller heritage retention projects. Certain smaller heritage retention projects will be exempt from financial review requirements. 
  • Require the reuse and recycling of materials from demolished homes – 75 per cent from pre-1940s houses, 90 per cent from character homes – to reduce landfill waste. This strategy is the first step towards meeting requirements of the Metro Vancouver Solid Waste Plan to divert construction waste from the landfill and also supports the Greenest City Action Plan.

Council approves Heritage Action Plan

December 4, 2013 City Council gives approval for work to begin on the Heritage Action Plan. The plan is an update of the City’s existing Heritage Conservation Program. 

Read the Council report (166 KB)

Council reports

Open house information displays and consultation summaries

December 2015: Character home zoning review (single family homes)

April 2015: First Shaughnessy

March 2015

February 2015 

Planning and Development Services bulletins  

Guides

Methodology guide

Glossary

Bylaw

Action items

The Heritage Action Plan has five key areas for action and implementation:

  1. A review of the Heritage Conservation Program, which includes: 
    • Developing a vision and strategic directions
    • Reviewing best practices
    • Simplifying and streamlining the approval process for retention projects
    • Reviewing regulations and incentive tools to encourage heritage building retention 
  2. An upgrade of the Heritage Register, which includes: 
    • Developing a heritage context statement for Vancouver that:
      • Describes the historical evolution of the city
      • Identifies the most important factors, events, and people that has shaped Vancouver
      • Establishes what sociocultural, economic, spiritual, and aesthetic qualities are inherent to the city
    • Developing the thematic framework (themes specific to the city) for Vancouver 
    • Reviewing methodology for evaluating sites
    • Reviewing how the register is maintained and updated
    • Identifying potential sites for addition to the register
  3. A review of the zoning of character homes, which includes: 
    • Reviewing and update the First Shaughnessy Official Development Plan and single-family zoning regulations (RS-5 and RS-3/3A) to encourage heritage- and character home retention
  4. Develop sustainability initiatives, which includes: 
    • Developing an enhanced deconstruction and recycling strategy for buildings being demolished
    • Developing an energy retrofit program for existing buildings
  5. Develop heritage awareness and advocacy initiatives, which includes:  
    • Improving public awareness of  building bylaw amendments to help heritage retention
    • Engaging and consulting with the public on the implementation of the Heritage Action Plan

Consultant team

As we implement this plan, we'll be working with a consultant team that includes:

Advisory groups and partners

The following City of Vancouver advisory groups are key partners in the work of the Heritage Conservation Program. They offer advice and support to City Council and staff. These groups are:

Work leading up to the Heritage Action Plan

In December 2013, City Council approved the Heritage Action Plan to update and strengthen the Heritage Conservation Program, which was originally established in 1986. 

City Council initiated the Heritage Conservation Program to identify Vancouver’s heritage resources, develop incentives to assist in their conservation, and create a greater awareness and understanding of the heritage of our buildings.

The Heritage Conservation Program was established as part of the program to outline incentives and protective measures to conserve our heritage resources. Incentives were made available through:

  • Relaxing the zoning, subdivision, and parking bylaws
  • Density bonuses and transfers
  • Encouraging the restoration and continued use of heritage buildings by fast-tracking permits

Questions about the Heritage Action Plan? Please contact us.

heritageactionplan@
vancouver.ca

Staff contacts
Tanis Knowles Yarnell
Planner

tanis.yarnell@vancouver.ca

Phone: 604-871-6077

Marco D’Agostini
Senior Planner

marco.dagostini@vancouver.ca

Phone: 604-873-7172

Get updates

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Protecting Vancouver's history

How we protect heritage properties

The City has a range of incentives and protective measures that encourage the restoration and continued use of heritage buildings.

Find a registered heritage building, site, or tree

Download the Vancouver Heritage Register to find over 2,150 registered heritage buildings, parks, trees, and monuments.

Character Home Zoning ReviewNominate a site to the Heritage Register