Centre Wellington feeling pressure to protect historical and culturally significant areas

·2 min read

CENTRE WELLINGTON – A heritage study in Centre Wellington has identified 18 areas of importance and recommends prioritizing urban areas for further study.

At a special committee of the whole meeting on Monday, a Cultural Heritage Landscape (CHL) study draft report was presented to Centre Wellington council.

Mariana Iglesias, senior planner with the township, said with recent development pressures in the township they’ve found the need to protect larger areas that are historically and culturally significant.

These areas are called CHLs, which the presentation to council identifies as a grouping of heritage features such as buildings, structures, spaces, views, archaeological sites or natural elements valued together.

This study was commissioned as a starting point to identify the most significant CHLs in collaboration with the public, Indigenous groups and stakeholders.

Annie Veilleux, consultant from Archaeological Services Inc., said the township is known as a scenic area with the Grand River being the backbone of influencing development in the township.

“The significant CHLs are spread out throughout the township but are concentrated on the Grand River corridor,” Veilleux said.

The study further identified higher priority areas that are more likely to have adjacent development, risk of altering heritage attributes or with more economic and tourism benefits.

The report prioritizes the following urban areas for technical studies:

Veilleux said CHLs in rural areas tend to be more stable. Also, those owned and managed by the Grand River Conservation Area have existing regulations and protections.

These lower priority areas include:

Council was very receptive to this report with councillor Kirk McElwain saying it should be part of the local school curriculum.

He asked if a CHL designation provides any additional protection and noted that GRCA properties could be threatened by recent proposed changes to conservation authority mandates.

Veilleux clarified that this report does not give protections to the CHLs but provides recommended priority areas for further study.

“Following this study, the township may take on additional technical studies that are CHL specific and those studies would have the opportunity to develop protection measures for these places,” Veilleux said, adding that these measures could come from the heritage, planning, zoning.

The CHL study is open for comments from the public until Jan. 29 where it will be later finalized and approved by council.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com