Are you one of the folks who’ve purchased a charming older home in Collingwood this year or do you hope to in the future? If so, you may not be aware of some of the programs and benefits available to you.
It’s Heritage Week in Ontario. It’s a time to celebrate our cultural, natural, architectural, and archaeological heritage and, to take the time to think about how we can conserve, preserve and promote these attributes for our future. As part of the week, the Town of Collingwood heritage committee held a meeting earlier this week to talk about the issue.
After reviewing the history of the heritage movement in town, the presentation also pointed to numerous redevelopments that have taken place over the last 30 years that have been significant contributors to enhancing and keeping our town beautiful. There have been many commercial buildings and private homes that have undertaken painstaking renovations that respect their heritage character. You can view some of these award-winning projects on the Heritage Collingwood website.
The Town of Collingwood has a Heritage Grants program through which owners of designated properties may be eligible to receive a grant toward the conservation and restoration of the heritage features of their properties for the half cost up to a maximum of $3,000.00. There is also a tax relief program where owners can get a 10% reduction in portions of their property tax bill on designated properties. In addition, there is a little known program that can freeze taxes for up to 10 years on a major and significant restoration project.
I found it interesting in the presentation to listen to the ways in which the community is changing. They discussed the gentrification to the downtown core which was once a blue collar, Shipyard supported area with mom and pop shops and services whereas today, we see live work-units, hip restaurants, higher-end boutiques and knowledge based-businesses transforming the vibe. The preservation of the older heritage buildings has increased the desirability of owning and being in the area. In other words, heritage preservation is a worthwhile pursuit beyond preservation – it also makes good economic sense.
If you are the owner of an older or otherwise significant property, you may want to look into the opportunities that are available to you by requesting that your property be designated under the Heritage Act. The steps to doing so are outlined here.