Heritage Conservation District Process

    What is a Heritage Conservation District Study?

    A Heritage Conservation District Study is the first step in understanding the historic significance of a neighbourhood. It involves studying the individual properties and the way that they contribute to the overall historic significance of an area. This stage is focused on research and helps establish whether there is merit to designating an HCD and developing a plan.

    What is a Heritage Conservation District?

    A Heritage Conservation District is a planning tool that defines an area of a municipality that is protected under a local By-law to conserve the area’s existing heritage character. The heritage character of a place is defined through rigorous study of the properties, including buildings with a historic significance to a time, person, or event. Most importantly HCDs focus on how all the individual contributions of properties relate to each other.

    An HCD provides protections under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. When an HCD By-law is put in place, this provides a set of policies and guidelines tailored to the specific area that help guide the district's conservation, protection, and enhancement. The HCD defines planning tool that ensures ongoing change conserves and enhances heritage value.

    What is the approval process for an HCD plan?

    All Heritage Conservation District Plans must be recommended to council by the Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee. Once adopted by City Council, there is a 30-day period during which the HCD may be appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). The HCD does not come into effect until it is passed by City Council and any appeals to the OLT are resolved.

    What happens at the end of a Heritage Conservation District Study?

    At the end of the Heritage Conservation District Study, the City of Peterborough Council will vote on whether to direct City staff to prepare the tools for designation and develop an HCD Plan based on the recommendations of the HCD Study findings.

    What's the difference between an Heritage Conservation District study and plan?

    A Heritage Conservation District study determines if an HCD is an appropriate tool for a particular neighbourhood, and includes the gathering and analysis of information to understand what the area's heritage value is.

    An HCD plan is only prepared for areas that have been recommended for an HCD as part of the study. The plan contains objectives, policies and guidelines to manage change within the area in order to conserve and enhance its heritage value.

    Who is being consulted as part of the HCD study?

    To date, the City of Peterborough has engaged members of the public, business, community groups and associations, landowners and prospective developers, as well as the Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee and the Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee. 

    The City has also reached out to several Indigenous communities in the Kawarthas to understand how they would like to be involved in this process.

Components of Heritage Conservation District Study

    How is an HCD Study Area boundary determined?

    Provincial guidance provides direction on how to determine the study area that includes:

    • Historical associations
    • Visual relationships
    • Physical features
    • Legal and planning framework

    The boundary may change through the study, following documentation and evaluation. If determined to be an HCD, the Final Report will recommend a boundary.

    Will I have to receive approval to undertake work on my property during a Heritage Conservation District Study?

    No. A Heritage Conservation District Study does not change the approvals process or place any restriction on building permit applications.

    What is the purpose of dividing the downtown into three distinct areas? (Civic Core, Commercial Heart, and Industrial/Riverbank)

    These three distinct areas highlight the difference in function and form between different areas contained within the HCD study area. Through the evolution of the City’s downtown, these areas have embraced a different way of defining themselves, which will be translated into how to guide change.

How to Get Involved

    Who can I contact if I have questions?

    If you have questions about the project please contact Erik Hanson or Jennifer Guerin.

    How can I participate in the study?

    The first virtual public meeting was held on April 6, 2022. You can also share feedback through the Downtown Heritage Conservation District Stories mapping tool.

    The second public consultation meeting was held at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Feedback from this meeting can be submitted here.

    How can I participate in the meeting?

    The second public consultation meeting was held at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Feedback from this meeting can be submitted here.

    How can I participate if I don’t use Zoom?

    The City of Peterborough continues to host virtual meetings, following public health direction to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please check back for information regarding the second meeting closer to the date. 

    What has happened so far?

    Since the first public meeting in April, City staff and their consultants continue to build on their understanding of the heritage significance of downtown Peterborough, integrating both archival research and community input. A second public meeting was held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. This was an opportunity to share the results of these conversations and gather additional input from the public before a report is prepared to go to City Council.

    How can I stay informed of future updates?

    To stay up to date on this study you can click “subscribe” at the top right of this webpage, you can check back on this site for project updates, and you can e-mail City staff directly with any questions or concerns.