ERA Architects

Amendments to Heritage Policies in Toronto’s Official Plan

The City of Toronto has just brought forward draft Official Plan Amendment No. 199 regarding Public Realm and Heritage policies. In May of this year, a staff report recommending the adoption of revised heritage policies was brought forward, and a public open house was scheduled. Prior to the public open house on September 10th, ERA submitted comments to the City outlining our concerns. We are pleased to report that some of our comments have been incorporated into the newly drafted OPA No. 199, but find that some areas could benefit from further revision.

ERA strongly believes that establishing the right policies and having them clearly stated as goals and objectives is essential. We are also interested in ensuring that heritage policies can be strategically implemented throughout the City. We think that there are significant areas of study, such as cultural heritage landscapes, that need to be addressed more fully before they can be used in a meaningful way within the policies.

At the special meeting of the Toronto Preservation Board yesterday, we respectfully submitted an additional letter and comments on the draft OPA, recognizing the efforts that staff members have made in addressing our initial concerns. We believe the document is headed in the right direction, and with further input, has the opportunity to become a strong, thoughtful, fulsome section of the Official Plan that can be implemented and withstand challenges.

Below please see the relevant documents:

1) The Official Plan heritage policies on the City website:
www.toronto.ca/opreview/pdf/opreview_proposed_heritage_policy.pdf

2) ERA’s initial comments and draft counter proposal:
www.era.on.ca/pdf/ERA_OP_heritage_policy_comments.pdf

3) Draft Amendment No. 199 to Official Plan, just released and available on the City website:
http://www.toronto.ca/opreview/pdf/version_opa_atclerks.pdf

4) ERA’s comments on Amendment, submitted respectfully on October 1, 2012:
www.era.on.ca/pdf/ERA_OP_heritage_policy_comments2.pdf

The key authors of this draft include Michael McClelland (Principal and Co-Founder at ERA), Victoria Angel (Senior Heritage Planner at ERA, Dean of the Willowbank School of Restoration, and former Manager of the Federal Heritage Building Review Office), Sydney Martin, and urban planners Julie Tyndorf, George Martin, and Chris Lawless.