In 1980, the Government of Nova Scotia passed the Heritage Property Act, to help identify, protect and rehabilitate built heritage throughout the province. Under the Act, a heritage property is a building or structure and the land on which it is located; however, protection is only afforded to exteriors.
The Heritage Property Act offers three types of protection:
- Provincial Registry of Heritage Properties
- Municipal Registries of Heritage Properties
- Heritage Conservation Districts
A Municipal Registry of Heritage Properties is a list of properties and structures that have been deemed to have a local or community-level heritage value. The Municipality of East Hants has adopted the Heritage Property Bylaw which administers the protection of the registered heritage properties.
Heritage value may extend beyond a single building to a group of related structures and their overall setting. In this case, several properties can be collectively protected through the establishment of a heritage conservation district. In 1995, Maitland was declared Nova Scotia’s first Heritage Conservation District.
In October 2018 Council approved the amended Heritage Conservation District Plan, Bylaw & Design Guidelines. The amended documents come into effect on February 27, 2019. The Plan expresses the intentions of Council with respect to conservation of the historic and architectural value of buildings and structures and their setting in a portion of Maitland. The Heritage Conservation District Bylaw was adopted in conjunction with the Plan and contains specific regulations and administrative procedures through which the policies of the Plan are implemented. The Design Guidelines section sets out principles of conservation and provides direction for specific conservation and design issues.
Why Register a Heritage Property?
There are a number of benefits associated with registering as a Municipal Heritage Property:
- Recognition – A plaque is installed to officially recognize the property as an important asset to the rich cultural heritage of the community and region.
- Advice – Heritage staff can provide valuable information on heritage properties and guidance in their ongoing management and maintenance. The NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage offers grants to assist in the costs associated with professional heritage building conservation advice.
- Protection – Significant changes to the exterior of a heritage property require review by the Heritage Advisory Committee and approval by Municipal Council. This measure of protection applies even after ownership of the property is transferred.
- Financial Support – Provincial and municipal financial support may be available for owners of registered heritage properties.
Heritage Property Incentive Program
The Heritage Property Incentive Program, introduced in 2016, allows owners of Municipally Registered Heritage Properties and properties located within the Maitland Heritage Conservation District to apply for a grant for work to the exterior of a heritage property and work that is necessary to ensure the long-term viability of a structure.
Current Heritage Projects
Provincial Heritage Programs
Provincial Heritage Property Program staff support the administration of the Heritage Property Act, coordinate provincial heritage registrations, advise on the conservation of registered heritage properties, administer the grants offered to owners of registered heritage properties, and support municipal heritage property programs.
Government of Nova Scotia Financial Support
The Government of Nova Scotia also offers financial support to conserve registered heritage properties which includes both provincially and municipally registered.
Insuring a Heritage Property
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has some information and tips for insuring a heritage property.