Sackville Council Public Meeting – September 7, 2010

Some residents in Sackville will soon find themselves applying for a Heritage Permit along with a Planning Permit before doing any exterior renovations, additions or demolitions on their property.  Dr. Charles Scobie, Chair of the Heritage Advisory Committee, told Sackville Council that now that the provincial government had completed “their overhaul’ of the Heritage Act” it was time to move on the proposed Heritage Preservation Areas and Heritage By-Law in Sackville.

Three main areas of Sackville have been identified as having a “sufficient concentration of heritage sites” to make them candidates as Municipal Heritage Conservation Areas: the Downtown areas of Sackville, the Queens Road Shipbuilding/Industry/Transportation Area, and the Early Settlement/Agricultural Area in Middle Sackville.

Property owners planning any renovations, additions or new buildings would be expected to maintain the heritage exterior of their building, in keeping with existing buildings and the general area. Demolition plans would have to be passed by the Heritage Board as well. If the owner successfully argued that the building was too structurally weak for expensive renovations then the first step would be too offer the building for sale for a nominal fee and move it to a new location at the purchasers’ cost, while giving the Heritage Board time to salvage any items or documents considered historically or architecturally significant.

The downtown area mapped out by the Heritage Board does not include the Mount Allison University campus because, according to Dr. Scobie, the university has opposed a by-law that would blanket the whole community, saying that “it would make it greatly difficult to operate on a daily basis if they had to apply for a permit every time they changed a door knob”.

Councilor Margaret Tusz-King said that it is just as inconvenient for individual home owners as it is for a large organization to apply for permits, and added that she would like to see the university take a leadership role in heritage preservation rather that been seen as “outside the  community”.

Mayor Patricia Estabrooks said that she would like the Council to proceed immediately with the by-law, which could be passed within two months after municipal readings, meetings and public announcements, adding that she thought the town could work with the university regarding individual heritage houses on campus, “rather than us dictating that all the university must go by the by-law.”

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