If amendments to the Heritage Property Act are accepted, it will soon take longer to substantially alter or demolish a heritage building.

Amendments proposed yesterday by Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Percy Paris would increase the time municipalities have to consider applications for “substantial alterations” or demolition of heritage buildings.

“Many people agree that a one-year time period to consider applications for substantial alteration or demolition of a municipally registered heritage property is too short,” said Paris.

Once the current one-year delay expires, he added, the property is demolished “without time for a true dialogue.”

Neither Paris nor tourism staff offered a specific example of such a case. But Heritage Trust president Peter Delefus said his organization may have been able to save the old Irving Garage on Sackville Street, demolished in 1999.

“We weren’t able to save that building, but perhaps if we had an extended period we might have entered into a dialogue.”

Delefus said the amendments are a first step toward increased heritage preservation. He said his organization offered advice on the legislation and that all their recommendations were accepted.

“We’re really quite pleased about that, particularly the three-year delay in demolition … (which) provide us with an opportunity to enter into a dialogue.”

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