Our inheritance of architecture, cultural landscapes, and material culture is an irreplaceable asset and resource. In Ontario, local municipalities have an important role in the conservation of our wealth of historically and architecturally significant properties.
The Ontario Heritage Act provides the framework within which municipalities can act to ensure the conservation of properties of historical and/or architectural significance. It also encourages citizen participation in heritage conservation locally. Under section 28 of the Act, the council of a municipality is authorized to establish, by by-law, a local advisory committee made up of five or more people. The function of the committee is to advise council on local heritage matters and to assist the council in carrying out its heritage conservation program.
Though the organization and function of heritage advisory committees may be defined by the Act, municipalities are not required to establish a committee. The initiative to start the process of forming a committee can come from many sources. A heritage home owner, a community group or organization may initiate the process. However, it is the municipal council which finally establishes the committee, determines its terms of reference, and appoints its members.