Keeping a heritage co-ordinator position at the City of Brandon is recommended for legal responsibilities, planning and economic development, a provincial official says.
Coun. Corey Roberts (Rosser), chair of the city’s Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee, reached out to Donna Dul, director of Manitoba’s Historic Resources Branch, regarding the vacant position now under review.
While there is nothing in the Heritage Resources Act that requires creation or retention of a heritage co-ordinator, Dul expressed support for such a position.
“Maintenance of a heritage planner position to ensure new designations are completed in accordance with … The Heritage Resources Act, to monitor existing designations and to ensure new development does not negatively impact on designated properties, are a part of ongoing legal and planning responsibilities,” an email sent on behalf of Dul stated.
The email went on to say such a position can prove effective in providing heritage conservation advice, for advocating redevelopment of heritage properties, assisting with inclusion of heritage properties in urban core revitalization efforts, and providing liaison for identifying economic development opportunities for heritage properties as part of cultural tourism.
co-ordinator position was vacated two months ago. The city advertised the position and began taking applications. However, city manager Scott Hildebrand has since told human resources to freeze any hiring unless “absolutely necessary” as the city prepares for the next budget. Hildebrand said all positions are reviewed through the vacancy management program.
As the Brandon Sun reported earlier this week, Roberts is disappointed with the freeze on this position, as it has already been budgeted for through MHAC’s operating budget.
Roberts said the
co-ordinator is an “important, key position” for heritage initiatives in the city, and they are put in jeopardy the longer the position remains vacant.
“It’s very important to manage and protect the heritage within the city because once it’s gone and damaged, there’s no coming back,” Roberts stated previously.
The heritage co-ordinator has a variety of roles, including keeping track of renovations at heritage homes, ensuring permits are in place, dealing with Brandon and Area Planning District to make sure processes go smoothly, answering questions for people wanting to have their home designated as a heritage location, as well as working closely with the committee.
“Consideration by the City of Brandon to retain a heritage planner position linked to its municipal heritage advisory committee is therefore advisable for legal responsibilities, planning, monitoring, providing quality control and economic development and promotional purposes,” Dul’s email said.
The Brandon Sun requested an interview with Dul; however, a provincial spokesperson would only provide an emailed statement:
“Filling the heritage co-ordinator position is a matter for the employer (City of Brandon) to decide. As such, we have no further comment.”
Roberts provided the information to the city clerk’s department and the city manager to consider as they review the position.
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