The Victoria Civic Heritage Trust Fund is asking for its annual city budget to double to accommodate rising construction costs. (File contributed/City of Victoria)

Victoria heritage committee requests $500,000 annual increase for restoration, seismic upgrade grants

The Victoria Civic Heritage Trust says rising construction costs belittle grant incentives

The Victoria Civic HeritageTrust Fund (VCHT) is asking for a significant annual increase from the City of Victoria.

In a request put forward to council at a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, the group requested a 2020 capital increase from $420,000 to $1 million, something it would receive annually.

The VCHT was established in 1989 to help incentivize the conservation and restoration of heritage buildings through city. It has done so through its Building Incentive Program (BIP) and its newer Seismic Parapet Incentive Program (PIP), which allows applicants to have a majority of upgrade or restoration costs covered.

ALSO READ: New downtown Victoria hotel slated to replace two heritage buildings

In recent months, however, these grants changed to accommodate rising construction costs.

“The incentives didn’t have the same appeal as they once had,” said Catherine Umland, executive director of the VCHT. “Between 1990 and 2019 construction costs went up 94 per cent.”

To meet this difference, as of July 2019 the BIP and PIP grant maximums doubled from $50,000 to $100,000. In addition to an increase in costs, the VCHT also has many applications in queue waiting for funding.

ALSO READ: Wellburn’s forced to close due to sewage flooding basement

“When we start looking at the amount of projects, that money will be depleted in 2020,” Umland said. “Increases keep coming and there will be a deficit by the end of the year.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps called the argument “compelling,” but full discussion of the decision won’t occur until Friday.

ALSO READ: CRD says Victoria needs to plan for earthquakes after calculating waste from Plaza Hotel fire

In the meantime, city staff recommended that council transfer a total of $218,080.20 from the city’s Downtown Heritage Buildings Seismic Upgrade Fund to the VCHT for its PIP program. The city received this funding from density bonus incentives from five major downtown developers under the density bonus system. In July 2019 that program was replaced with the Inclusionary Housing Policy, so the former fund will no longer be active.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

City of VictoriaHeritage

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds of wax figures find new life in Saanich man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

UPDATED: Hit and run results in damaged fire hydrant, flooding on Richmond Road

Registered owner issued $360 ticket, responsible for repair costs

Peninsula Eagles will host Midget T2 provincial championships

Provincial championships will take place at Panorama Recreation March 15 to 19

Saanich’s senior race car driver not slowing down

Bill Okell kicks off 2020 season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California on Feb. 21

UVIC to host brain health presentation at IdeaFest 2020

Integrative Lifespan Lab will teach residents brain health for free at IdeaFest 2020

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay Victoria man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read