Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment Guidelines
Changes to the Planning Act were recently made by the Province through Bill 13 and Bill 109. Phase 1 - Interim Draft Terms of References/Guidelines were approved by the Planning Committee on November 29, 2022. The interim draft guidelines will provide clarity for development applications as to City requirements and will be subject to additional public and stakeholder consultation with Phase 2 terms of references in Q2 2023 before finalization.
A Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) is a report that documents a clear and traceable evaluation of the effects of a proposed new development or redevelopment on cultural heritage resources and/or their setting. If there are demonstrated adverse effects, the CHIA must describe the means by which the adverse effects can be minimized, mitigated or avoided. The primary goal of a CHIA is to ensure that the cultural heritage value of the property is conserved.
Under the Urban Hamilton Official Plan (UHOP) and Rural Hamilton Official Plan (RHOP), a CHIA shall be required where the proposed development, site alteration, or redevelopment of lands has the potential to adversely affect the following cultural heritage resources through displacement or disruption:
- Properties designated under any part of the Ontario Heritage Act or adjacent to properties designated under any part of the Ontario Heritage Act;
- Properties that are included in the City of Hamilton’s Municipal Heritage Register or adjacent to properties included in the Register;
- A registered or known archaeological site or areas of archaeological potential;
- Any area for which a cultural heritage conservation plan statement has been prepared; or,
- Properties that comprise or are contained within cultural heritage landscapes that are included in the City of Hamilton’s Municipal Heritage Register.
The UHOP and RHOP also identify that CHIA reports may be required where the proposed development, site alteration, or redevelopment of lands has the potential to adversely affect properties listed on the City’s Inventory of Heritage Buildings.
The UHOP also identifies that there may be cultural heritage properties that are not yet included in the City’s Municipal Heritage Register, nor designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, but have cultural heritage interest. The City shall ensure these nondesignated and non-registered cultural heritage properties are identified, evaluated, and appropriately conserved.
New development, site alteration or redevelopment may create disturbances or disruptions including, but not limited to:
- Demolition, removal, or any other damaging effects to buildings or structures of cultural heritage value or interest;
- Disruption of the setting, context, landscape or layout of the cultural heritage resource; and,
- Development of lands adjacent to cultural heritage resources that is not sympathetic to the adjacent property’s cultural heritage attributes.
Planning staff will inform the proponent during the Formal Consultation phase of any development application, whether the submission of a CHIA will be required prior to the submission of any subsequent applications under the Planning Act.
The Assessment shall be undertaken by a qualified professional with demonstrated expertise in cultural heritage assessment, mitigation and management, excluding the project architect or any other professional with a stake in the development, and shall contain:
2.1 Scoped Assessments
At the discretion of Planning staff, the content of a CHIA may be scoped as follows:
- a. Where it has been adequately demonstrated that the conservation, rehabilitation and reuse of cultural heritage resources that have not yet been included in the City’s Municipal Heritage Register, nor designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, is not viable, the City may require that the affected resources be thoroughly documented for archival purposes at the expense of the applicant prior to demolition or removal.
- b. Where cultural heritage resources may be affected and staff is of the opinion that the potential impacts will be minor, the discussion of impacts to cultural heritage resources may be integrated into an Urban Design Brief or Urban Design Study.
Note: Where a property is designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, a Heritage Permit is required to be submitted prior to the issuance of a Building Permit. Accordingly, Planning staff recommend that the proponent consults with staff following the submission of a Formal Consultation application to determine the appropriate course of action to proceed with the proposal.