Mersey Heritage Society Formed

Liverpool, Nova Scotia, June 30, 1999 - A new organization has been formed to help protect the heritage resources of Queens County. The Mersey Heritage Society intends to work with other heritage groups and the community to protect built heritage such as houses, and archaeological resources in the county.

The society has already formed relationships with the Queens County Museum and Nova Scotia Archaeology Society, and hopes to work with the Region of Queens to develop a Heritage Master Plan for Queens County.

"We spend a large amount of effort promoting the history of the area and developing tourism infrastructure, but often fail to protect the physical embodiment of that history," said Craig Chandler, Chairman of the society. "Some of the work for a Master Plan has already been done by individual volunteers. If these people can get together and develop a meaningful inventory of heritage resources, then the Region would have proof that the protection of these resources is important to the people of the county."

Chandler says that developing a Heritage Master Plan is about enhancing the community, and does not mean imposing restrictions on home owners. The goal of the master plan is to protect properties that are deemed by the community to be valuable. The plan is a benefit to potential developers, because it lets them know what is expected of them prior to developing a heritage property, rather than encountering unexpected obstacles as work proceeds.

Along with compiling an inventory of heritage resources, the society plans to carry out archaeological assessments in the county each year. "The archaeological potential of places like Liverpool, Milton, Port Medway and areas in North Queens is largely unexplored," said Chandler.

A key part of the archaeology projects will be community involvement and sponsorship by local businesses and organizations. Members of the society will provide the expertise and labour while having the opportunity to participate in the digs.

"We also hope to get students interested in archaeology. Several high schools in the Halifax area have very successful programs," said Chandler. By carrying out archaeological assessments in the county and publicising the findings, the Mersey Heritage Society hopes to increase awareness of the history of the area.

Mike Sanders, an archaeologist and board member of the society, says that the goals of the society are ambitious but definetely worthwhile. "Only a few communities in this Province have taken steps to protect built heritage," said Sanders. "Heritage Master Plans are common in places like Ontario, but Queens would be the first municipality in Nova Scotia to put one in place. It would be a very progressive move." He added that no other society in Nova Scotia has a focus on conducting archaeological assessments.

Sanders also thinks that the society is aptly named. "Although the goals of the society are directed at the entire county, the river deserves recognition for its pivotal role in the county's cultural history," said Sanders.

The Mersey Heritage Society will be holding a Public Information Meeting at the Queens County Museum on July 15 at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to hear about the society's activities, and to get membership information. "So many people in the county have spent countless hours researching and compiling historical information. We hope to attract people who are interested in working within a group to turn that interest and information into an overall inventory and protection plan," said Chandler.

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