The Queensland government passed a series of amendments to the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 (QHA) that were adopted in 2008. One of these amendments was the requirement that local governments keep a local heritage register. Over the last three years, local governments have initiated local heritage studies to meet their obligation under the QHA. In most cases, the studies are part of the development of new planning schemes that reflect the newly-amalgamated councils and also to update the schemes to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and the Queensland Planning Provisions.
Converge Heritage + Community has completed the following local heritage studies for regional councils:
- A heritage, character and urban design study for the Rockhampton Regional Council (in conjunction with Tract Planning Consultants, completed in 2010);
- The Fraser Coast Regional Council local heritage study (completed in 2011);
- Mount Isa City Council local heritage study (2012);
- Whitsunday Regional Council local heritage study (2012); and
- Former Douglas Shire local heritage study (2011 – for Cairns Regional Council).
These projects required the development of a sophisticated heritage strategy that consisted of the following outcomes:
- A review of previous studies and detailed gap analysis;
- Compilation of a database of places of potential local heritage significance and character, including built, landscape and archaeological places;
- Field work to ground truth places of potential local heritage significance;
- An assessment of the significance of identified places in a format that meets the requirements of the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 and best-practice frameworks such as the Burra Charter (1999);
- The development of place cards that represent the entry for each place of local heritage significance, including a contextual history, description, statement of significance and pictures;
- Creation of a heritage layer compatible with councils' Digital Cadastral Database;
- Liaison with key stakeholders, including the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and local historical societies;
- Staff training seminar that informs Council planning staff of the study, its aims and methodology and the current heritage and planning framework;
- Assistance with public consultation following notification to property owners of a council's decision to enter a place on the local heritage register and the development of local heritage fact sheets; and
- Provision of advice relating to the management of local heritage and character places within the current planning framework, which includes the draft Queensland Planning Provisions, Sustainable Planning Act 2009, Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009, Queensland Heritage Act 1992, and the Queensland Heritage Regulation 2003. The advice includes text for the Strategic Framework, Heritage Overlay Code, Heritage Policy and a suggested Table of Assessment.
These studies were completed in relatively short timeframes and to a tight budget. Some of the studies were staged to meet councils' funding needs. Consideration was also given to the size and scale of the study; quality was more important than quantity and this has consistently ensured a successful outcome for councils and their communities.
Converge Heritage + Community is currently working on local heritage studies for the following regional councils:
- The Gladstone Regional Council local heritage study (nearing completion); and
- North Burnett Regional Council local heritage study.
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