Langley Township is unveiling a new local history website in time for Heritage Week. (Township photo)

Langley Township is unveiling a new local history website in time for Heritage Week. (Township photo)

Langley Township goes high tech to spotlight local history

To mark the start of History Week, the Township has put out a new app all about the community.

A click, a swipe, and the Township of Langley’s rich history comes to life through a new online showcase of the community’s registered historic sites.

Early homes, places of heritage value, and sites that tell Langley’s story have been compiled at tol.ca/langleyshistoricplaces, which is being launched in celebration of Heritage Week. Heritage celebrations will take place around the province from Feb. 18 to 24 featuring the theme, Heritage: The Tie that Binds.

“Launching this storyboard on the Township’s website is the perfect way to celebrate Heritage Week and our local history,” said heritage planner Elaine Horricks.

The 64 properties currently included on the Township’s Community Heritage Register are featured in the new web app. The sites are laid out in an interactive format, which includes maps, visuals, and links to attachments with additional information. Visitors can explore multiple layers that describe items of interest, such as Langley’s early transportation routes and historic road names.

The accompanying narrative for tol.ca/langleyshistoricplaces is an abridged version of Langley’s Historic Context Statement and Thematic Framework, prepared in 2017. The two documents, jointly known as Our Shared History, provide a concise statement on how the community developed over time, look at the themes and events that helped shape the Township, and provide examples of the historic places that reflect those themes. Our Shared History was created as a tool for understanding, identifying, and assessing Langley’s historic sites, based on where their significance lies within the greater community context.

The launch of tol.ca/langleyshistoricplaces also fulfills action items from the Township’s Heritage Strategy Implementation Plan, which calls for updating heritage policies in an integrated planning framework and making heritage information accessible to the public.

The web app will be of educational interest to history buffs and those curious about Langley’s early development, as well as serve as a useful tool for those wanting to determine the heritage status of a property, such as realtors, owners, and developers.

“Telling the story of our historic places is as much about celebrating our heritage and community identity as it is about planning and regulation, and our aim has been to present the Register in a way that is both comprehensible and engaging,” Horricks said. “We really hope the public will take a moment to explore the application during Heritage Week and come back to it time and again throughout the year.”

The web app will be built out further in the months ahead.

The historic sites featured on the site are all included in the Township’s Community Heritage Register, which represents about one-third of the municipality’s inventoried sites of historic interest. The register is maintained to identify the significance of the community’s historic places and formally recognizes sites for their heritage value and character, based on their historic, cultural, and architectural attributes. It is also used to integrate heritage conservation into land use planning processes.

Benefits of being on the register include the eligibility for special provisions under the BC Building Code, as well as grants through the Township’s Heritage Building Incentive Program, which helps owners with the cost of restoring, repairing, and maintaining their buildings.

Anyone who has a property that has been documented for its heritage interest and wants to find out more about the register can contact the Township’s Community Development Department at 604.533.6152.

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