June 25, 2024

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Sherbrooke to adopt new heritage demolition bylaws

2 min read

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

On May 27, the Lennoxville Borough Council reviewed and discussed the adoption of new heritage bylaws under Regulation 1277, concerning the demolition of buildings within all of Sherbrooke City. This new regulation is set to replace the existing Regulation 1208 from 2017, in response to recent legislative changes aimed at improving the preservation of cultural heritage buildings.

Background and legislative changes

On April 1, 2021, the Quebec government enacted Bill 69, which amends the Cultural Heritage Act and other legislative provisions, including the Act Respecting Land Use Planning and Development. This bill introduces new guidelines and solutions for the demolition of buildings, particularly those of heritage value. These legislative changes have necessitated the City of Sherbrooke to update its demolition bylaws to incorporate the new requirements.

As of June 1, 2023, the city’s Planning Commission has endorsed the repeal of Regulation 1208 and the adoption of Regulation 1277. Following this endorsement, the City Council passed a resolution on October 3, 2023, initiating the procedures for adopting the new regulation. This new regulation will apply uniformly across the city, ensuring all demolition activities adhere to updated standards.

Key elements of regulation 1277

The new Regulation 1277 introduces several significant changes aimed at enhancing the protection of heritage buildings. The key elements include:

  1. Mandatory committee review:

– All heritage buildings seeking demolition must now be reviewed by the demolition committee. Previously, there were exceptions to this requirement, but the new regulation eliminates these exceptions to ensure thorough review.

  1. Expanded definition of heritage buildings:

– The regulation broadens the definition of heritage buildings to include:

– Buildings cited under the Cultural Heritage Act.

– Buildings located within heritage sites.

– Buildings constructed before 1940.

– Buildings listed in municipal inventories.

– This expanded definition ensures a wider range of buildings receive protection.

  1. New evaluation criteria:

– Demolition requests will be evaluated based on several criteria:

– The physical condition of the building, including structural integrity and contamination levels.

– The heritage value, rated from A (exceptional) to E (low).

– The impact on neighbourhood quality of life, considering factors such as safety and aesthetic coherence.

– The cost of restoration, renovation, and requalification.

– The displacement of tenants and the subsequent effects on housing needs in the area.

  1. Consistency with other regulations:

– The regulation aligns with new tools and guidelines from the Ministry of Culture and Communications.

– It ensures consistency with Regulation 12-02 regarding permits and certificates, modernising the demolition regime and simplifying application procedures.

  1. Special provisions for government authorisation:

– Buildings requiring government authorisation for demolition include:

– Classed heritage buildings.

– Buildings within a protected area of a classed heritage building.

– Buildings within a classified heritage site.

– These buildings will require authorisation from the Ministry of Culture or the Minister.

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