Heritage Canada Foundation Calls for Better Protection for Federal Heritage Buildings

    OTTAWA, Feb. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Appearing yesterday before the House of
Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates to comment
on the federal government's sale of nine buildings (including three heritage
buildings) in August 2007, the Heritage Canada Foundation's executive
director, Natalie Bull, called on the government to recognize its important
role as the trustee of legacy buildings and to put in place better protection
for heritage buildings under its care and those transferred to the private
    Ms. Bull's recommendations include the creation of statutory protection
and maintenance standards for federally owned and regulated historic places.
The Foundation also urged the implementation of "heritage first" provisions to
promote the reuse of existing heritage buildings by the federal government.
Since 1996, United States federal agencies have been required to fill their
accommodation needs in heritage buildings first, to the maximum extent
    Ms. Bull stressed that the only effective strategy for protecting
heritage buildings leaving federal ownership is to register protective
covenants on property titles. Current Treasury Board disposal practice
requires the government to make "best efforts" toward protection, but does not
make a covenant or other form of statutory protection a condition of sale.
    "Federal buildings do much more than provide accommodation for federal
institutions," underscored Ms. Bull. "They were designed to make a big
impression and to reflect our ideals as a nation and our system of government.
They were built to last as public landmarks and monuments, representing the
federal presence in towns and cities across the country."
    Demonstrating the highest standards of design and construction, many
federal buildings showcase some of Canada's best architects and represent a
national legacy that is held in trust for all Canadians.
    The federal government counts more than 1,300 designated heritage
buildings among its property holdings. That number does not include an unknown
backlog of federally owned buildings 40 years old or older, but not yet
submitted for heritage review. To date, about 6,300 buildings have been
evaluated, out of a total of about 46,000.

    The Heritage Canada Foundation is a national, membership-based,
non-profit organization with a mandate to promote the preservation of Canada's
historic buildings and places.

For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications,
(613) 237-1066 ext. 229; Cell: (613) 797-7206, cquinn@heritagecanada.org;
Heather Hunter, Communications Officer, (613) 237-1066 ext. 238; Cell: (613)
797-7205, hunterh@heritagecanada.org

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Heritage Canada Foundation

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