Heritage Restoration Grant Program

This Program applies to properties listed on the Vernon Heritage Register in order to assist owners with the cost of restoring the exterior, foundations and roof structures of heritage buildings. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Philosophy for Rehabilitation and Restoration

These guidelines are to assist in making improvements to the exterior of eligible residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural heritage buildings, and are not to be interpreted as bylaw requirements. Guidelines for building rehabilitation and restoration have two objectives:

  1. Ensuring the long-term stability of the building, in terms of its economic viability, structural improvements and compliance with building codes, when applicable; and
  2. Restoration and retention of the architectural features which caused the building to be originally approved for financial grant assistance.

Restoration of heritage buildings is sometimes being undertaken with limited archival information available either to design consultants or City staff. Because of this, significant design components of many heritage buildings are often removed or altered inadvertently. Architectural research should, therefore, be an integral part of any proposal to restore or repair a heritage building.

Intent of the Heritage Restoration Grant Program

The Heritage Restoration Grant Program promotes the preservation of buildings which are listed in the Vernon Heritage Register, by assisting owners with grants for a portion of the expenses incurred in restoration work. This grant program is limited to exteriors, foundations and roof structures of eligible buildings.

General Guidelines

The following guidelines provide a general philosophical basis for dealing with a heritage building:

  1. The original distinguishing qualities or character of a building or structure should not be destroyed. Removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features must be avoided.
  2. Distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a building should be treated with sensitivity.
  3. Reconstruction of all or part of a building shall be undertaken only when such work is essential to reproduce a significant missing feature and when a contemporary design solution is not acceptable. Reconstruction should include measures to preserve any remaining original fabric, and should be done in such a way that the essential form and integrity of the original surviving features are unimpaired.
  4. Building changes should be reversible, if technically possible.
  5. Deteriorated architectural features should be repaired rather than replaced. If replacement is necessary, it should be based on accurate duplications of features, substantiated by historical, physical or pictorial evidence, rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings.
  6. Substitute roofing materials which are similar to the original material in texture and colour must be property flashed in the valleys.
  7. All buildings, structures and sites are recognized as products of their history. Changes which may have taken place in the course of time are evidence of the history and development of a building. These changes may have acquired significant in their own right, and it may be appropriate to respect this significance.
  8. Alterations which may have no historical basis are unacceptable.
  9. Surface cleaning should be undertaken with the gentles means possible. Sandblasting and other damaging processes may not be used.
  10. Adjoining archaeological or historic properties must be protected.
  11. The preparation of a "Restoration Plan" may be useful for extensive work involving several phases over many months or several years. The Restoration Plan is an overview of all proposed work, together with the expected date of commencement.
  12. Retail paint stores may be able to provide applicants with a "heritage colour scheme chart" often supplied by paint manufacturers. Applicants are advised to utilize only premium grade paints, as the quality is superior and the cost of labour is no greater.
Eligible Heritage Buildings

Residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and agricultural properties are eligible to apply for a heritage restoration grant if:

  1. The building is listed in the Vernon Heritage Register;
  2. Taxes are fully paid; and
  3. The building is covered by current comprehensive insurance

If a property owner believes a building merits consideration for a heritage restoration grant and the property is not currently listed in the Vernon Heritage Register, the owner may request City Council to have the building evaluated. If City Council determines, by resolution, to include the building in the Vernon Heritage Register, it would then be eligible for consideration of a heritage restoration grant by. City Council is under no obligation to approve a restoration grant for any building included in the Vernon Heritage Register. Each application for a grant shall be assessed on its own merits.

Priority would be given to those buildings, structures and portions thereof which are readily visible to the general public from a public road fronting or flanking the building.

Grants would not be approved for work undertaken prior to grant approval by City Council.


Grants would not exceed 50% of the cost of works done on an identified heritage building situated on property listed in the Vernon Heritage Register.

An owner of a property on the Vernon Heritage Register may apply for a heritage restoration grant, for a maximum of $5,000; and, notwithstanding the amount of the first grant awarded, the heritage property may be awarded a second grant which is not to exceed $3,000 and is not to be awarded within 5 years of the first grant being received by the property owner.

Criteria for Allocating Grants

Except for special circumstances, original materials are to be used. Sympathetic adaptation of modern materials,such as sealed windows units set into wooden frames or roofing materials, which are similar to original materials in texture and colour will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The order of priority for grant funding is as follows:

  1. Exterior Restoration - return to original condition and appearance by repairing rather than replacing the original architectural feature.
  2. Exterior and Structural Repairs - examples of exterior and structural repairs include the repair or replacement of foundations, stairs, chimneys, flashings, gutters, roofing, windows and siding with building materials similar to the original building materials.
  3. Exterior Painting - subject to the limitations of Section 3, exterior painting grants which are not part of an exterior restoration, exterior repair or structural repair will not exceed 25% of the cost of the exterior painting work. Exterior painting grants which are part of an exterior restoration, exterior repair or structural repair grant will not exceed 50% of the cost of the exterior painting work done.
Documentation Required for Grant Applications

To facilitate City Council’s review of an application, all information submitted must be clear and neatly organized. The following is a list of information to be considered for submission with the application:

  1. Foundation plan, floor plans, elevations and details as may be necessary in order to explain and identify existing conditions and the proposed work.
  2. Any proposed works involving exterior painting, whether or not part of the grant application, shall include colour schemes with paint colour samples.
  3. If re-roofing is proposed, either as part of the grant application or not, information on the proposed colour and roofing material is required.
  4. Three (3) written estimates of the cost of the work are required. Estimates should be fully detailed as to both labour and materials for all aspects of the work to be performed. For example, if five windows require new sills and ten linear feet of wall require a new foundation, these quantities should be identified.
  5. If the work is to be done by the owner, a minimum of two (2) written estimates of the cost of materials (as noted in (d) above) is required in order to reasonably estimate the value of the work.
  6. New roofing shall bear a minimum warranty of one (1) year for labour and materials and must be installed by experienced, fully qualified roofers.
  7. If performed by a contractor, general renovation work, labour and materials must be guaranteed for a minimum of one (1) year.
  8. All guarantees must be in writing and are to accompany the request for final payment.
  9. Prior to commencement of works, photographs of all building elevations must be submitted, including detailed photographs of specific areas where restoration, renovations or repairs are to occur.
  10. Historical photographs of the subject building are encouraged to be submitted.
  11. A written statement explaining the rationale for the proposed restoration/repair plan is encouraged to be submitted.
Administration Process
  1. Once an application has been received, it would be screened for eligibility.
  2. If the total value of applications exceeds funds available, the applications would be prioritized by City Council.
  3. Once an application is approved by City Council, the applicant would be advised in writing of same.
  4. Applicants who are denied approval of the grant would be advised in writing.
  5. When an application is approved, municipal permits shall be applied for as required (i.e. Building Permit, Heritage Alteration Permit, etc.).
  6. The successful applicant must commence work within six (6) months of the date of grant approval, and would have one (1) year in which to complete the work once the work has commenced. Upon written request, the time limit for completion of the work may be extended.
  7. After the restoration work has been completed, the applicant shall submit the following documentation to the Community Development Department:
    1. Copies of all invoice receipts showing "paid in full”. Costs of plans and related expenses may be included. Invoice receipts should be affixed to letter size paper and clearly numbered.
      1. The amount of the grant awarded to the property owner, shall not exceed 25% of the cost of the exterior painting work, as described in 4. (c.), Criteria for Allocating Grants, based on the final statement of “paid in full”. Should there be a discrepancy between the quote and final paid bill, the amount granted would be based on the final paid bill, up to the amount originally granted to the applicant.
      2. The amount of the grant awarded to the property owner as per part 4. Criteria for Allocation of Grants. 4.(c) are as mentioned in (i.a) up to the 50% of exterior painting work as part of the restoration, based on final “paid in full” statement.
    2. A summary sheet listing all expenses and numbered to correspond with each invoice receipt shall be provided.
    3. A signed Statutory Declaration of Project Completion form.
    4. A copy of written warranties of all applicable work.
    5. Photographs depicting the building prior to and after completion of the restoration work.
Sale of Heritage Building Property

In the event that a property previously approved for a restoration grant is sold prior to completion of the work, the City of Vernon reserves the right to rescind any or all funding until a new heritage restoration grant application by the new property owner has been received and approved.

Demolition or Alteration of Building

In the event that an improvement building for which a heritage restoration grant has been received by the property owner is demolished or altered such that the heritage significance of the building is destroyed within a five-year period following completion of the improvements, the total amount of the grant shall be repaid to the City of Vernon.