Recognition and Protection

The municipality is empowered by provincial legislation to engage in heritage conservation services to better integrate heritage conservation activities into the mainstream of community planning. The following tools exist to recognize or protect sites deemed to be of heritage value.

Heritage Recognition

Langley’s Heritage Inventory is a list of properties that have been identified and documented for their heritage interest. The first inventory was prepared by the Langley Heritage Society in 1986 and subsequently compiled and expanded by the Township of Langley in 1993. Resources on the inventory include a diverse range of buildings and landmarks, as well as other historic resources such as cemeteries, early transportation links and landscape features. There are no legal restrictions on a property as a result of being added to an inventory; however, many of these sites are now included on the Township of Langley’s Community Heritage Register, and others have received legal protection that regulates and manages changes made to them.

The Township’s Community Heritage Register is an official list of historic places that have been formally recognized for their heritage value or character. The Register enables the municipality to identify the significance of the community’s historic places, and integrate heritage conservation activities into land use planning processes. Registration also gives notice to property owners and potential buyers of heritage factors that may affect development options for a property, and enables the monitoring of proposed changes to heritage sites through local permit and licensing application processes.

Although inclusion on the Community Heritage Register does not constitute heritage designation or any other form of permanent heritage protection, adding a historic resource to the Register, or alternatively removing a resource from the Register, requires Council approval. Buildings or resources qualify for inclusion on the Register based on their architectural, cultural and historic attributes documented through a prepared Statement of Significance, which describes the historic place, identifies its key values, and lists the principal features that should be preserved in order to maintain its value.

Resources added to the Community Heritage Register are included on the British Columbia Register of Historic Places, and may also be included on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Buildings on the Community Heritage Register are eligible for special provisions under the BC Building Code Heritage Building Supplement, as well as grants through the Township’s Heritage Building Incentive Program that assist homeowners with the costs of restoring, repairing and maintaining their heritage buildings.

Explore the Community Heritage Register.

Heritage Protection 

Heritage designation provides long-term protection, in the form of a bylaw, to a single property, a portion of a property, or a number of properties. Properties may be designated on a voluntary basis through an agreement between the municipality and an owner, or on the initiative of Council. Designation is the primary form of long-term local government regulation that can prohibit demolition.  It can also prohibit moving a building, structural and land changes, and alterations to specified exterior or interior building elements and landscaping. Changes to a designated property will only be considered through a Heritage Alteration Permit process.

A heritage conservation covenant is a contractual agreement made between the municipality and a property owner to protect all or part of a heritage property. Conservation covenants are registered on the title of the property and outline the responsibilities of the covenant parties with respect to the conservation of the heritage property. A conservation covenant can apply to either a natural or built heritage feature, but cannot vary the siting, use, or density regulations of a property. 

A Heritage Revitalization Agreement is a voluntary agreement in the form of a bylaw, made between a property owner and the municipality for the purposes of rehabilitating, restoring or preserving a heritage property. The agreement outlines the duties, obligations, and benefits negotiated by both parties to the agreement. These agreements can be specifically tailored to unique properties and situations, and are particularly suited to sites that require creative solutions and where incentives are required. A Heritage Revitalization Agreement may specify terms, and vary or supplement numerous bylaw and permit conditions as provided for under the Local Government Act.

Local government can define special areas in the Official Community Plan for the purpose of providing long-term protection for distinctive heritage areas. Heritage conservation areas typically require a Heritage Alteration Permit to subdivide, alter or demolish existing buildings, structures, features, or land within the area, or construct new buildings or structures within the designated area. There are currently two heritage conservation areas in the Township in Fort Langley and Murrayville.

A heritage alteration permit is an authorization by local government that allows certain kinds of changes to be made to protected heritage property. Heritage Alteration Permits allow changes to be authorized for protected heritage property that is designated, protected by a covenant, protected by a heritage revitalization agreement, or is within a heritage conservation area. Heritage Alteration Permits may not vary use or density, but may vary or supplement other land use bylaws, designations, permits or subdivision and development requirements.

In 2012, Township of Langley Council endorsed the use of the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in the Canada for use in the Township. These standards and guidelines provide a consistent benchmark for conservation practice in Canada by offering decision-making guidance related to the preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of protected sites and resources.