TORONTO — Architectural Conservancy Ontario has issued a statement criticizing Ontario’s Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, saying it makes it “practically impossible to protect most of Ontario’s identified heritage properties.”
“This can only be seen as a knee-jerk response to a vindictive attack by the development industry on our heritage system. There was no consultation or consideration of the destructive impacts of these proposals across Ontario,” stated ACO chair Diane Chin in a release. “Why drop a cluster bomb of changes into the heritage system that will not create a single unit of affordable housing? The proposed changes to the OHA must be dropped from Bill 23.”
The ACO identifies two proposals — forcing communities to drop listed properties from their heritage registers if they are not designated in two years, and requiring that the standard for designation of properties be increased from at least one of Ontario’s heritage criteria to two — as offensive.
Requiring that a property meet two of the legislated criteria for designation, instead of one, will make it challenging to protect the buildings and places associated with the historic contributions of Black, Indigenous, Franco-Ontarian, multicultural and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities to Ontario, said the ACO.
“This will seriously hamper communities like Little Jamaica or Kensington Market currently seeking heritage status and protection.”
“Why make it so much harder to keep listed properties on the Heritage Register?” asked Chin. “Designation should not be seen as the holy grail of heritage protection; listing is easy to implement and does the job in most cases.”