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Lunenburg residents have strong connection to heritage landscape: report

Project Lunenburg, the town’s initiative to create a new comprehensive municipal plan, officially launched on Feb. 27. The public was invited to the Lunenburg Fire Hall for an opening consultation in which residents were encouraged to share what they’d like to see the town do moving forward.
Project Lunenburg, the town’s initiative to create a new comprehensive municipal plan, officially launched on Feb. 27. The public was invited to the Lunenburg Fire Hall for an opening consultation in which residents were encouraged to share what they’d like to see the town do moving forward. - Josh Healey

Organizers pleased with strong community engagement in Project Lunenburg

It should come as no surprise that Lunenburgers are as passionate as ever about the town’s world-renowned architecture.

And that’s exactly the conclusion members of the UPLAND consulting team gleaned through a series of workshops and surveys for Project Lunenburg, the town’s initiative to map out a new comprehensive municipal plan.

A report summarizing UPLAND’s work on the town’s architecture was published at the end of August.

Town Councillor Matt Risser, chair of the steering committee overseeing the consultation process, said he’s pleased with the level of engagement from the community on the topic.

“I think we’ve gotten excellent turnout in our workshops, in our surveys and broadly in the engagement aspects of the project,” he said during an interview with the South Shore Breaker.

“It’s certainly been yielding a strong sense of where the community is heading on a broad number of issues.”

A total of 60 people participated in the Built Heritage and Streetscapes Workshop, while nearly 700 responded through the survey and social pinpoint submissions.

As summarized by the report, members of the community have a strong connection to the heritage landscape. Some 37 per cent of respondents said that the unique architecture helped make Lunenburg a great place to live.

“I think everybody recognizes the intangible value of that architecture and what that’s led to for the town. I think that there’s a strong consensus that everybody wants to preserve and protect what’s there,” said Risser.

But when it comes to the next steps for the town, community members don’t necessarily agree.

For example, some respondents called for the total preservation and expansion of the UNESCO heritage district; others sought to loosen building regulations.

“There were several comments related to the desire to use modern materials and techniques that have greater longevity all the while contributing to the town’s unique character,” read the report.

Other points of confrontation included the debate to protect view planes from future developments like infilling or construction along the waterfront.

There was also overwhelming support to improve public amenities throughout town, ranging from benches to public washrooms.

As per the report, there are merits to welcoming modern techniques while embracing and preserving Lunenburg’s historic past.

“Permitting modern development or the use of modern materials and technologies could alleviate some of the financial burden on property owners to maintain heritage properties, as well as the costs of building new housing,” stated the report.

“However, it was felt that clearly articulated regulations on the type of modern development and materials permitted should be considered so as to ensure Lunenburg’s heritage character is maintained.”

The entirety of the report is available at: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c6db2e17a1fbd028b68396f/t/5d69694ffc548d00015a0c04/1567189330705/What+We+Heard+-+Built+Heritage+and+Streetscapes+Aug+30.pdf

@joshrjhealey / joshua.rj.healey@gmail.com

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