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)

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

Sooke residents can now report various crimes without going to the station themselves with Sooke RCMP’s online crime reporting tool. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke RCMP online crime reporting ‘underutilized’

Tool introduced last year, but so far has little public uptake

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

A family of ducks that lives near Saanich Municipal Hall recently welcomed 11 ducklings and took them for a swim in the koi pond outside the offices. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Pair of ducks make Saanich Municipal Hall a nursery for 11 hatchlings

Family of ducks spent time in koi pond before heading down to Swan Lake

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)
Feral cat rescue group looking for support

SAFARS helps make a difference to abandoned cats in the region

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Jasmine Francoeur from Comox is an aviation technician for the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Photo by Canadian Forces/submitted
Island woman’s career comes full circle as she flies home with the Snowbirds

Jasmine Francoeur: “To fly out here, fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky”

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

Most Read