In August 2008, North End Sydney became Nova Scotia’s second largest Heritage Conservation District.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality began the planning for the district’s designation in 2004, eyeing a seven-block area featuring nearly 100 buildings that date back more than a century. Eight buildings in the district were built between 1785 and 1802.
A Heritage Conservation District, designated by municipalities, is an area of heritage value that is protected by municipally determined bylaws, which can vary from district to district. For instance, the bylaw in North End Sydney allows for blending of old and new properties, encourages renovation and allows for new development.
Incentives for municipalities and individuals to establish Heritage Conservation Districts include provincially-funded heritage grants and tax rebates for property owners within the district. Some municipalities also offer financial incentives. Municipalities look to the Heritage Conservation District designation because it can contribute to improved economic or tourism development potential, increased public investment and the economic revitalization of neighbourhoods.
In addition to North End Sydney, there are five other Heritage Conservation Districts in Nova Scotia, located in Maitland, Grand Pré, Yarmouth, Truro and Lunenburg.