Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer®

The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting BC Cancer Foundation, is a two-day cycling journey, through Canada’s Pacific region taking place in the summer. It will be a challenge in a number of ways, but with my bike, my helmet, and your generosity, a real impact will be made!

Contribute to this history-making event with a donation. Funds raised in The Ride to Conquer Cancer will support breakthrough research, exemplary teaching, and compassionate care made possible through BC Cancer Foundation, a leader in cancer research and care.

To donate log on to my personal page.

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Analyzing and Designing an Evaluation System for Heritage Resources: Part 1

This is from a paper written for one of my continuing education courses.

For this project I am reviewing the City of New Westminster’s Heritage Register.  I am being aided in this by the City’s Heritage Planner, Julie Schueck.  The City’s heritage program does not have a very long history.  The City having experienced a lengthy decline since the 1950s, and starting in the 1980s turned to their heritage inventory to help spur an economic revitalization.

New Westminster has had a steady evolution in its treatment of its heritage resources.  It started out as a windshield survey in the 1980s—the Heritage Resource Inventory.  An effort to create a purpose for these listed buildings, the City initiated a Heritage Area Revitalization Program (HARP) focused on the Columbia Street commercial district.  This program was largely a cosmetic, incentive laden program intended to rejuvenate the historic downtown core.

A new listing, a Heritage Register, has since been established.  Based on the earlier Inventory, this is the official listing of properties “[d]eemed to have historic value”[1].  This list gives a degree of control over the outward appearance of recognized heritage buildings and makes owners eligible for special considerations regarding the Building Code and the Home Owners Act.  A Community Heritage Commission sits to advise the Mayor and Council on related issues.  While theoretically the City has the power to place homes on the list without owner’s approval, the City does not exercise this option.

A more recent development from the City has been the Neighbourhood Historical Context Statements.  This is a program led by local heritage consultants to give the community a greater voice in determining their community’s heritage.  This program is still being carried out, but has been very well received by the community.

This paper will explore the City of New Westminster’s Heritage Register and supporting programs and compare and contrast them to the theoretical ideas explored in the Determining Significance of Heritage Resources course, and offer constructive criticism on the process.

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Introducing the newest member of the B.C. Chapter of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals!

Dear Philip,

Congratulations! You have been approved as a Professional CAHP member, with the designation of Craft & Trade Specialist.

Your status will be updated on the CAHP directory and also you will receive an approval letter.

 

Thank you,

Jodi Franklin

Administrative Co-ordinator CAHP I ACECP

George Brown House 50 Baldwin St., Suite 211

Toronto, Ontario M5T 1L4

Tel: 416-515-7450

Fax: 416-515-0961

www.cahp-acecp.ca

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Merry Christmas from Us!

May everyone have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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“Vinyl Windows Are [Not] Maintenance Free”

“Vinyl Windows Are Maintenance Free”

I was sent a link to this by Heritage Planner Julie Schueck of the City Of New Westminster.

It is pretty low-budget, but it is a great portrayal of the ongoing debate between the general construction world and the heritage world.  The medium is good , as it also reflects the budget that we have for advertising!

Enjoy!

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Exceeded 1,500 Views!

I guess I missed a milestone along the way (who needs 1,000, anyway?), but I am pleased to report that Housewright Building & Restoration has exceeded 1,500 views as of December 15th.  I am glad that people keep coming to see the site, and especially when the trackers show exploring the different articles and links.

Please keep coming and I will keep adding!  I welcome any suggestion for content or articles, as well.

Cheers!

(As I hit publish I wordpress congraduated me for my 30th post.  A fitting double milestone, though I’m not sure if I should have published more over this time period.)

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WINNIPEG’S DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT GETS KICKSTART WITH NHL’S RETURN

Reading an article on Winnipeg’s downtown development plan folowing the return of the Jets (admittedly on TSN) has me wondering where heritage revitalization sits here.  I remember some work was done, but, unless my memory failing the expected result weren’t there.

For the article click WINNIPEG’S DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT GETS KICKSTART WITH NHL’S RETURN.

Out of curiosity, I am going to poke around and see if I can scare up anything.  If any readers have any comments of info…

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Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster

I’m not ready to quit my day job, yet, but after a stretch I do have some things moving forward in Heritage (at this point I’m not even sure if this is going to be a paying gig).  I haven’t too many details to post right now, but I have recently become involved with the seismic work and property development for New Westminster’s Holy Trinity Cathedral as a Heritage Consultant.  I will be working with the church’s Building Committee and Architect Oberto Oberti.

The overall goal of the proposed project is to complete seismic upgrades and some restoration work while increasing the density of the remainder of the property to help subsidize the project and future maintenance.

More to follow…

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What is meant by Values-based Management?

This is an article I am working on with the hopes of having it appear in print.  Please feel free to offer any comments.  I am looking to add something regarding the constant change in values; one generations values will often be dramatically different from the next.

Looking through the documents and reading relating to this topic, I find it interesting that, while so many start with definitions of critical terms, it was difficult to find a clear-cut definition for “values-based management”.  In fact, it was rare to find an article that directly referenced the term.  I find it interesting as this is a relatively new term in the heritage world, and is a movement that—from my fledgling perspective—has taken heritage conservation by storm.  It would make sense that, while groups participate in debates over contentious terms like cultural significance and the difference between preservation, rehabilitation and restoration, that there would be some dictionary-style definition readily available to assist in inducting practicing Heritage Professionals.

Before proceeding, there are some definitions that are readily available that will aid this discussion.  Heritage value looks at the aesthetic, historic, scientific, cultural and social meanings that are important for past and future generations[1].  In values-based management, understanding these values takes on primary importance—emphasised by the presence of the use of the plural form in values-based management.  However, it is important that all values be given voice.  Cultural significance is the identification of attributes that make a heritage resource valuable to society[2].  The term has much in common with heritage value, but is perhaps more useful in conveying the difference from fabric-centered systems.  In determining cultural significance, an additional step is taken in understanding the level of significance and therefore identifying areas which may be adapted.

Historic place is a place that has been officially recognized as having heritage value[3].  Note the definition limits the type of applicable resources.  The terms heritage value and historic place can be problematic to current values-based management practices when the traditional emphasis is used, favouring the aesthetic and historic values.  The subjectivity that can be inherent in these items often overshadows other values, most notably the cultural and social values, when evaluation is left to solely to experts rather than permitting participation by the stakeholders.  Along with character-defining elements, I would be tempted to level these items to discussion of aesthetic values due to the connotations.

The Burra Charter is credited with being the first document dealing with values-based management, or as the document terms it, the “Burra Charter Process”.   It was an answer to the problematic Venice Charter, which was critiqued for being Eurocentric and not applicable outside the conservation of established ancient monuments[4].   Adopted by Australia ICOMOS in 1980, the goal of the Burra Charter was to set forth versatile principles for the conservation and management of Australian heritage resources, and asserted the importance of three pillars values-based management:

  • The cultural significance of a place and other issues affecting its future are best understood by a sequence of collecting and analysing information before making decisions. Understanding cultural significance comes first, then development of policy and finally management of the place in accordance with the policy.
  • The policy for managing a place must be based on an understanding of its cultural significance.
  • Policy development should also include consideration of other factors affecting the future of a place such as the owner’s needs, resources, external constraints and its physical condition.[5]

The difference between this document and preceding ones was that this places weight on understanding the resource.  James Semple Kerr is an Australian heritage professional who served on the drafting committees for the Burra Charter.  He created a cyclic diagram to help communicate the new system.  In it, understanding the site was both the starting point and the assessment for creating a useful conservation plan[6]:

Each time, after completing the conservation plan, this process has a feedback loop which has the heritage professional reviewing and assessing the policy to ensure the full meaning of the site is preserved.  This can be held in the same light as testing a hypothesis.

Values-based management has the ability to accommodate many values and to address an array of issues effecting a heritage resource, and also to serve a range of stakeholders who hold special interest its protection.  This allows a more adaptable long-term view of management.  It can also cause conflicting values from introducing multiple stakeholders.  When using this system, the duty of the heritage professional is to balance all the conflicting values and to accommodate them.

There exists a good definition for values-based management to be found within Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site:  English Heritage, A Case Study by Randall Mason, Margaret G. H. MacLean, and Marta de la Torre.  In the paper, the authors provide a very concise definition:

Values-based site management is the coordinated and structured operation of a heritage site with the primary purpose of protecting the significance of the place as defined by designation criteria, government authorities or other owners, experts of various stripes, and other citizens with legitimate interests in the place.[7]

There are two items of note in this definition.  First, the stress on the values and significance attributed to the heritage resource.  Second, is the importance of the input from stakeholders.  Also, note what is absent from the definition.  There is no assumption of dominance of traditional values—historic, aesthetic, or scientific—over social[8].

In my work to date, I have not had many opportunities for my own evaluations of heritage resources.  As a carpenter, my focus has been on the physical components of heritage buildings, the aesthetic, and more particularly the woodwork and joinery involved.  However, I have been picking away at seminars covering more academic applications of heritage.  A few years ago, I attended Conservation Planning: A Values-based Approach, hosted by Simon Fraser University’s City Program and the Heritage Branch.  The workshop brought together a group of international and local experts to discuss this fairly new concept.  It was my first exposure to the idea that there could be more to heritage than the traditional values.  It made a lot of sense.  While I still have a great appreciation for the material and history, I love the ideal—however much it needs to fight for its status —that it allows the community a voice.  Something that I found disenchanting in studying history was the “great man view”, and the omission of other views due to their lack of academic written support.  By allowing others to give voice to their values systems, the door is opened to sources outside academia.

Values-based management is an excellent evolution of managing heritage resources.  It allows for a multiplicity of values to be recognized and utilized.  But it is only as useful as it is understood.  Values-based management is a tool for the heritage professional where the first step is to create a full understanding of the resource—in all its shades by all its users. Aesthetic, historic, scientific, cultural and social values are all given equal weight.  Once understanding is attained, then a conservation plan can be created that embraces the heritage resource in such a way that it is useful to the greatest variety of stakeholders.  As far as a dictionary style definition, here is my best try:

values-based management /val-u bāst ma-nij-mənt/ (noun) a system of heritage conservation management where emphasis is placed on the understanding of the significance of the heritage resource as defined by the stakeholders.


[1] Parks Canada.  Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.  (Parks Canada, 2003), p. 2

[2]James Semple Kerr.  Conservation Plan.  (Sydney: The National Trust of Australia (NSW), 2004), p. 4.

[3] Parks Canada, p. 2.

[4] Kerr, p. 34.

[5] Australia ICOMOS.  The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance.  (Burwood: Australia ICOMOS, 2000)., p4

[6] Kerr, p. 51.

[7]Randall Mason, Margaret G. H. MacLean, and Marta de la Torre.   Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site:  English Heritage, A Case Study.  (Los Angeles:  The Getty Conservation Institute, 2003), p. 1.

[8] Mason, p. 2.

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Pixie McGeachie Room

Pixie McGeachie Plaque at City Archives

On September 24 (yes, more than a month ago, sorry), the Pixie McGeachie Reading Room opened at the City of Burnaby Archives.

Local archivist and historian, Doreen Pixie McGeachie is remembered for her substantial contributions to the city’s archives.  She passed away a year ago last summer at the age of 89.  For more on Pixie see Pixie McGeachie.

In attendance were representatives from her family, members of the city archives, city council and the community heritage commission and the mayor.

 

 

 

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