Our provincial heritage is unique, remarkably diverse and remains deeply important to New Brunswickers. The Heritage Conservation Act reflects this public interest in our natural and cultural past. Replacing two earlier statutes, it represents a significant legislative advance at both the provincial and municipal level.
The Act explicitly confirms the Province’s ownership of all archaeological, palaeontological and burial site heritage objects in New Brunswick. Any such objects determined to be of aboriginal origin are specifically ‘held in trust’ on behalf of First Nations people and their communities.
This legislation supports direct involvement of New Brunswickers province-wide in the vital task of conserving our past for the benefit of all future generations. Active partnering among individuals, communities, heritage organizations and all interested stakeholders can be a decisive factor in reaching this goal.
Rigorous standards are applied under the Act to the conduct of any professional research involving archaeological, palaeontological or burial ground sites, and the management of all heritage object collections. There are also provisions for amateur researchers to obtain an approval for certain types of heritage exploration, subject to detailed conditions.
Expanded opportunities are provided for community input in designating local historic places, as well as nominating heritage resources for formal provincial designation. In addition, local councils are now able to broaden their focus beyond historic buildings in establishing municipal heritage conservation areas.
The legislation requires mandatory reporting of all potential heritage object discoveries to provincial authorities, introduces regulations for heritage impact assessment, and prohibits the alteration of any heritage place in the Province without specific government approval. The full text of the Heritage Conservation Act is available for review by clicking here. Brief summaries of some key provisions of the Act can be accessed through the following links: