Russell heritage district plan passes first reading

·2 min read

EMBRUN – The township of Russell is moving progressively closer to establishing a Heritage Conservation District (HCD) for part of the Village of Russell. During a “first reading” of the proposed HCD plans and guidelines at the March 1 council meeting, director of planning, building and economic development Dominique Tremblay, along with planner Alix Jolicoeur, provided background information and updates. The duo also answered questions from both council and the public during the meeting’s question period. “Tonight, we’re recommending to council to approve the proposed plan as a first reading only, as we want to give more opportunity to the public and council to ask questions, make comments and to make sure they’re involved in the process,” Tremblay said. “We understand it’s a lot of information. We want to make sure we’re doing it right the first time.” The project has been ongoing since 2015. Background information, updates, and a list of affected properties can be found on the municipality’s website under town hall projects. Residents who want to be kept updated on anything related to the HCD project, including meetings, are encouraged to contact Tremblay and join the group email list. Currently, Tremblay said there are roughly 50 to 60 residents on the list. “The designation of the HCD allows the municipality to protect the character of an area and guide future changes and development,” Tremblay said. “This protection is not meant to prevent changes, but it’s there to manage change in ways that are positive to the district and for the wider community. Many people now consider the HCD to be one of the most effective tools in planning, not only for historic conservation but to be an effective urban design.” Tremblay said the HCD project was started in response to resident input identifying the targeted community as valuable. She said its an asset that provides an important sense of place. “If the community does not want to preserve this area then the HCD offers no value,” Tremblay said, noting that township staff are working on behalf of Russell residents to protect what they identified as valuable. Councillor Cindy Saucier complimented Tremblay and her team on the thoroughness of the report, as well as the process undertaken to ensure residents are involved. “If we preserve our village for the future, I think it will be to our benefit,” Saucier said. As for the second and third reading of the HCD plan and guidelines, Tremblay said her team did not want to pinpoint a date until they had received additional community feedback. She said that as the project has progressed, the number of residents interested in joining the email list had increased. “We want to make sure we address all comments and concerns,” Tremblay said.

, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chesterville Record