The first element in the values-based management approach is called the Statement of Significance (SoS), the primary document that describes a building's core values. The province's Historic Resources Branch has a commitment to produce an SoS for every designated site in Manitoba. Building owners are asked to contribute to this process, and to identify the values they believe should be addressed in the production of the SoS.
Most designated buildings in Manitoba are featured on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, on the website historicplaces.ca. This major website, maintained by Parks Canada, features more than 10,000 protected sites across Canada, and thus is a major tool for heritage promotion and education. Placement on the Register is voluntary, and building owners are asked to provide consent to having their site included.
The SoS is the key part of the documentation record that forms each entry on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The SoS has three primary purposes: 1) to explain the heritage value of a historic place to visitors viewing the Historic Places Initiative website, historicplaces.ca, 2) to provide guidance about heritage value to property owners, planners, architects, etc., and 3) to help guide the preparation of conservation plans when work is required to a heritage building.
There are three sections of a Statement of Significance:
- Description of Historic Place: describes what has been designated
- Heritage Value: describes why the historic place is important
- Character-Defining Elements: describes the key physical qualities of the building that speak directly to the heritage value and must be protected in order to preserve value
In terms of the values-based management approach, it is the Heritage Value section that assumes key importance. The creation of the Heritage Value section will be the result of two distinct processes:
- Research: includes the review of historical reports, evaluations, general overviews, technical reports, etc.
- Consultation: involves interviews with building owners, and if applicable other stakeholders – neighbours, heritage organizations, interested parties, historians, architectural historians, etc.
The creation of a good, and useful, Heritage Value section will also address the following issues:
- It will identify and effectively describe the core heritage values of a historic place
- It will ensure that the principal area of heritage value is emphasized (i.e., one of either architecture; person, group, event; or context)
- It will identify secondary values and place them in a hierarchy after the primary value. Values that are interesting, but not deemed significant, will not be identified in the SoS.
- It will be written in a clear and easily understood manner
- It will guide the identification of character-defining elements.