Some gold-rush era structures lean in to each other on Third Avenue in Dawson City. A possible new heritage bylaw for Dawson City would better define the role of the town’s heritage advisory committee.. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

In with the old for Dawson City

Town council considers new heritage bylaw

A new heritage bylaw for Dawson City would better define the role of the town’s heritage advisory committee, set out how the town’s heritage fund will be accessed and designate an inventory of historic resources specific to the town, says Dawson’s mayor.

Wayne Potoroka said in a Nov. 7 interview that the new regulations also bring together five separate documents the town has on its books around heritage while addressing a number of issues around the management of historic sites.

Work to draft the new bylaw has been months in the making with a lot of involvement from the town’s heritage advisory committee, he said.

The bylaw itself will define the role of the advisory committee much better, Potoroka said.

“This is a step in the right direction,” he added.

Under the new bylaw town council would appoint a minimum of three to a maximum of five members to the committee to serve for a two-year period. The committee would continue its role making recommendations to council on historic resource permit applications, the heritage aspects of development permits in the community’s historic town site, municipal historic designations and in providing a list of heritage projects for council to consider each year.

With the framework for the heritage fund also set out in the bylaw, the heritage advisory committee could have its work cut out for it in making recommendations on the heritage reserve.

As Potoroka explained, the town has been setting aside some funds over the last few years for a heritage fund.

The fund will provide cash restoration and renovation work on municipal historic sites or properties on the heritage inventory.

It would also allow for Dawson City to purchase historic sites for heritage conservation or restoration.

Under the bylaw, owners could get 50 per cent to a maximum of $10,000 for major projects and 50 per cent up to a maximum of $5,000 for smaller projects.

Potoroka did not have figures available on how much is in the heritage fund, but said he believes it to be around $100,000.

He hopes the fund will make it easier for those who own historically-significant properties to do the maintenance required on the properties while maintaining their heritage value.

Speaking to the municipal inventory of historic resources, Potoroka said the town has been relying on the Yukon government’s inventory of historical sites in Dawson.

Under the proposed bylaw, the town could designate its own municipal historic sites where it determines “that the site is an important illustration of the historic development of the Klondike Valley, or the natural history or peoples or cultures of the Klondike Valley Cultural Landscape, as delineated in the Heritage Management Plan.”

Other pieces of the bylaw pull together regulations in the town and make the wording clearer, Potoroka said.

Dawson council is scheduled to vote on the final reading of the bylaw later this month.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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