Protecting Important Heritage Buildings

I am fully in support of Bill C-323, which is currently before Parliament and if passed, would provide financial assistance for the restoration of heritage properties.

The Bill would do this through two ways: the first element is a 20% tax credit for spending on the restoration of historic buildings and the second element is an accelerated three year capital cost write-off for the rest of the restoration cost.

The legislation was introduced to limit the destruction of Canada’s heritage buildings, and instead encourage the rehabilitation of these culturally significant buildings.

Across Canada, particularly this year as we celebrate our nation’s 150 birthday, there is a strong public interest in the preservation and restoration of important historic buildings.

However, in most cases, the cost to individual owners is much higher than simply tearing down and building new. When private individuals spend their own money to restore a piece of Canadian history, this tax credit will recognize the enormous costs of doing so.

The tax credit would be available to properties that appear on the National Register of Historic Places. The bill would also give the Minister of Canadian Heritage the power to extend the credit to all heritage designated properties in a province or territory.

This legislation has broad support from stakeholders right across the country. National Trust, one of Canada's leading heritage protection advocacy groups, said, “This is an idea that has widespread support from heritage advocates, federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.”

Currently there are 62 National Historic Sites in Manitoba listed on the Parks Canada Registry and there are approximately 13,000 Historic Sites across the country. According to the Historic Resources Branch at the Manitoba government, there are dozens of Provincial Heritage Sites across the province.

Included in that list are sites located in Westman such as the A.E. McKenzie Company Building, Paterson/Matheson House, and Villa Louise, Dr. Alexander Fleming House.

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