WATERLOO REGION — From rolling farmland to scenic river views, the townships of Woolwich and Wellesley are rich landscapes with plenty to offer.
Two University of Waterloo students hope to identify some of these picturesque rural scenes as potential cultural heritage landscapes with a new study, and they want your help.
“We’re taking a ground-up approach by asking the community first rather than using expert opinion,” said Chris DeGeer, a graduate planning student working on the project.
Cultural heritage landscapes are essentially geographical areas that have importance or significance to a community. Maybe an area has unique natural scenery, perhaps it’s the particular flora or fauna present there that makes it valuable, or maybe it has historical significance, DeGeer said.
“The definition of a landscape is different to different people.”
When municipalities investigate a spot for possible designation, they tend to follow a set of guidelines. Nearby residents are part of the process, but that part usually comes after an area is identified by municipal staff.
“This study will add an extra layer of academic research to existing tools,” said Kate Hagerman, supervisor of cultural heritage at the Region of Waterloo.
Unlike designating a historic structure, a cultural heritage landscape designation is quite different because of the many meanings a landscape can have for the community.
“It’s an interesting exercise,” Hagerman said. “How do you put a boundary around a landscape?”
The picturesque village of West Montrose is the only designated cultural heritage landscape that currently exists in both townships. The team of researchers, heritage advocates and municipal staff hopes to pinpoint some more.
Link to the Survey: https://culturalheritagelandscapes2017.wordpress.com/
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