Protecting Archaeological Heritage
The Ville de Montréal, like most large urban centres around the world, has acknowledged the importance of preserving its heritage. For over 20 years, the City has been planning and intensifying its actions to protect, manage and enhance the archaeological heritage on its territory.
The protection of archaeological heritage, however, remains a mandatory government requirement established primarily by Québec’s Loi sur les biens culturels (Cultural Property Act). Thus, under the Act:
em>"Whoever, during excavation or construction work undertaken for other than archaeological purposes, discovers an archaeological property or site must inform the Minister of it without delay. The latter may, to permit the examination of the place by experts, order the suspension, for a period not exceeding fifteen days, of any excavation or construction that might compromise the integrity of the property or site discovered." (s. 41).
Over the years, the application of this provision to accidental archaeological discoveries during construction projects has resulted in work stoppages, lost time during archaeological appraisals as well as delays and costs associated with managing these unexpected events.
To minimize these adverse effects and in the interest of both archaeological heritage conservation and urban development, the Master Plan recommends the development of administrative information and coordination mechanisms to enable:
- Prior identification of areas likely to harbour archaeological remains (see Map 2.6.2);
- Sharing, with the developers and owners of the sites concerned, the costs associated with any characterization studies that may be required under the existing subsidy programs.