The next meeting of the Heritage Committee is scheduled for Thursday,  February 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers and by electronic participation. View the agenda for this meeting.  Members of the public who wish to attend "virtually" must register to do so in advance. 

South Frontenac Heritage Committee Background Material:

The following content is taken from the Government of Ontario web site:

The role of municipalities

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, a municipality is permitted to control, manage and expend its revenue moneys under section 68 of that Act."

It is the inherent responsibility of municipalities to formulate heritage policies and principles, and, whenever possible, to initiate a heritage conservation program. The Act says that municipal councils have the power to:

  • Establish a municipal heritage committee (s. 28)
  • Designate individual property (Part IV of the Act) and designate districts or areas (Part V of the Act, s.29, s.41)
  • Issue or refuse permits to alter or demolish a designated property (Parts IV and V, s.33, 34, s.42, 43, 44)
  • Repeal designation by-laws (s. 31, 32)
  • Purchase or lease individually designated property (s.36(1))
  • Expropriate designated property (s.36(2))
  • Provide grants and loans to designated property owners (s. 39)
  • Enter into easements and covenants with property owners (s.37(1))

As a result, a municipal council is responsible for:

  • Setting the municipal budget to be used for heritage conservation
  • Carrying out heritage conservation policies in its Official Plan and the Official Plan amendments
  • Receiving recommendations and consulting with the municipal heritage committee if there is one, and having due regard for the committee's advice on designation, alterations to designated property, demolition, repeal of designation by-laws, and other matters relating to heritage conservation in the municipality.

The Ontario Heritage Act provides that the council of a municipality may delegate its power to establish a municipal heritage committee to the council of the county of which it forms a part (s. 36(3)). This means that a lower-tier municipal council can choose to delegate its authority to establish a heritage committee to an upper-tier municipality of which it is a part.

Who serves on a municipal heritage committee?

Each municipal council must determine the qualifications and the number of members for its municipal heritage committee. Council will consider factors such as the size of the municipality, its organizational structure and the extent of its heritage program. Although the Ontario Heritage Act requires a minimum of five members, most communities find that seven to 11 members better represent their communities.

Ideally, a heritage committee should include people representative of the community that represent a balanced cross-section of local interests and perspectives. Its members' diverse skills and disciplines could include architectural conservation techniques, management, historical research, and knowledge of the community's heritage. Strong advocacy, communications, and organizational skills are also essential. Their background should give them the technical and professional expertise to make decisions and policies informed by their understanding of complex heritage conservation issues, reliable technical and professional advice, and knowledge of their local community.

If a broad-based membership that combines the prerequisite skills is not possible, sharing human resources with a neighbouring municipality can be an effective, mutually beneficial compromise. Another option is for municipalities to provide ongoing training and educational programs that encourage local citizens to acquire new skills and increase community participation in the conservation of local heritage resources.

The role of municipal staff

Staff roles often depend on municipal resources. Their involvement with a heritage advisory committee varies from municipality to municipality.

Ideally, one staff person should be identified as the contact between the public, City Hall and the municipal heritage committee. This individual could answer routine inquiries, forward literature on behalf of the committee, and help out on administrative work, such as procedural duties specified by the Act, including service and publication of notices and registration of documents.
Municipal heritage committees interact or relate to a number of different municipal departments or staff, including the clerk's office, planning, building, legal, recreation and parks, by-law enforcement, property standards, etc.

In larger municipalities, the municipal heritage committee may be assigned to a particular department such as planning or the clerk's office. This department should specify which of its resources the committee should reasonably expect. These resources could include a staff liaison, photocopying, a meeting space, coffee, letterhead, filing space, typing, etc.

How committees and councils can work together

Volunteers who serve on a heritage committee are directly involved in making decisions that affect their community. Committees are not, however, autonomous. They are established by a municipal by-law and can only exercise the authority granted to them by council. All final decisions rest with council.

Municipal councillors and municipal staff can provide the liaison and support to enable a municipal heritage committee effectively implement a successful heritage conservation program in a community. This is why the municipal heritage committee's reporting relationship to council is so important.

Committees should keep council informed, at all times, of their operations and recommendations -- through minutes, reports to council, annual reports, and updates on activities. Some committees report through planning advisory or community development committees or other standing committees, or even through the municipal chief administrative officer. The more direct the access or reporting relationship, the better.

Appointing one or two municipal council members to a heritage committee can keep lines of communication open and maintain working relationships with each municipal department. A council member can, for instance, bring the committee's work to the attention of the council, introduce by-laws at the appropriate time, and inform the committee of the council's expectations and requirements.

phone icon Contact Us