Citizen participation is essential to heritage conservation. Anyone with an interest in heritage conservation, an ability to work with the community within a municipal framework, and the time to accomplish the objectives of the committee, can participate in the decision-making processes of their municipality by joining or contributing to their community's municipal heritage committee.
A municipal heritage committee is an advisory committee. Like every advisory committee, a municipal heritage committee can help a community participate more directly in a municipality's decision-making process by broadening the scope of information that goes into a municipality's decision-making process when it is addressing issues that impact a community.
In summary, the role of an advisory committee is to:
The members of the committee come from the community and represent a cross-section of interests and perspectives. Their role is to advise and make recommendations — but there are limitations. These limitations are defined by terms of reference developed by the organizing body.
Representative of community interests, the advisory committee is recognized as a legitimate vehicle for coordinating and conveying community concerns. An advisory committee, therefore, plays a very important role by enabling a community to participate more directly in the decision-making process.
A municipal heritage committee is a standing committee of council and therefore an integral part of the municipal structure. It functions under the council and normally reports directly to council or through another standing committee.
A municipal heritage committee is appointed by and is responsible and accountable to municipal council. It helps its council make decisions on any matter relating to the legal designation and conservation of property of cultural heritage value or interest, including individual properties and heritage conservation districts. It is therefore responsible:
The Ontario Heritage Act (s. 28) defines a committee's statutory roles as follows:
Under Part IV of the Act, once a municipal heritage committee is established, council is required to consult with it:
Specifically under Part IV of the Act, where a municipal heritage committee is established, council is required to consult with the committee:
Under Part V of the Act, once a municipal heritage committee is established, council is required to consult with it:
A municipal heritage committee's activities flow from its statutory authority and are part of its advisory functions. Council can and should assign additional responsibilities, through council resolutions, that all municipal heritage committees should fulfill, regardless of their size or location: