Niagara is a Changin’

Is it just me or are we starting to see more development initiatives taking place with a Niagara-wide prospective? The formation of a new organization called Niagara Heritage Alliance (NHA) is one of the most recent examples.

It is a regional alliance of volunteer individuals and organizations from communities across all twelve Niagara municipalities who are dedicated to heritage preservation. The group recently held a conference themed “Our Heritage in Crisis:  Do you Care?” at Navy Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

According to attendee, Pamela Minns’ blog article posted on www.NiagaraAtLarge.com, “Navy Hall was filled to overflowing with people from clear across the Region of Niagara” and the audience included “some of our regional planners and councilors, several mayors and MPPs, the chair of the Niagara Parks Commission, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, school boards, as well as a notable Canadian author.”

The Niagara Heritage Alliance describes heritage as “encompassing the legacy of natural heritage - landscapes, vistas, agricultural lands, etc., and built heritage - buildings, structures, sites, etc., individually or in groups, which are considered to be of cultural, environmental, historical and/or architectural significance.”

As a citizen with a profound level of respect for cultural heritage I applaud the broad scope of this definition.  As a local real estate professional I recognize the challenges of incorporating such ideals into future development planning.

Establishing a regionally focused approach is an excellent start. Slowly but surely we are reducing the number of redundant (although well intentioned) silos of effort throughout our Niagara Region.

Just this past Spring our Niagara tourism stakeholders joined together to form the new Tourism Partnership of Niagara.  This month one of the conclusions of St. Catharines/Thorold Chamber of Commerce “Supporting Prosperity Through Effective Government” report was that “Niagara can no longer afford a multi-tier approach to economic development.”

To quote the iconic Mr. Dylan…..the times they are a-changin’.

 More information about Niagara Heritage Alliance: www.niagaraheritagealliance.org

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