The first provincial heritage strategy was released today, Feb. 25, to ensure Nova Scotia’s rich heritage is preserved, protected and promoted for future generations. A Treasured Past, A Precious Future will provide a vision and framework over the next five years, to manage heritage resources in a more co-ordinated, effective way. “We’re blessed with a unique and diverse heritage that reflects our sense of identity, enriches our quality of life and contributes to our economic well-being,” said Bill Dooks, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “We need to safeguard this so that the heritage we pass on to our children and grandchildren is as rich as the one we inherited.” The strategy is based on extensive input from the public and heritage groups gathered by the Voluntary Planning Heritage Strategy Task Force, consultation with various government departments and agencies, and research on other jurisdictions. Through this process, heritage was defined to encompass cultural heritage, such as artefacts, buildings, folklore and languages, and natural heritage, including land and water. The strategy outlines three directions: better co-ordination among those with a responsibility for heritage, sustainable development of heritage resources, and increasing public recognition of heritage. In the first year, the province will discuss forming a heritage council, develop an interpretive master plan for museums, review the Nova Scotia Museum system, the Heritage Property Act and the practice of underwater treasure hunting. An interdepartmental committee has been formed to better co-ordinate heritage-related work with other agencies such as the provincial offices of Aboriginal Affairs, African Nova Scotian Affairs, Acadian Affairs and Gaelic Affairs. They will also link with other departmental strategies and initiatives, such as the coastal management plan, natural resources strategy and the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act. The strategy recognizes heritage conservation and promotion is a responsibility shared by all levels of government, every business, organization, community and individual in Nova Scotia. “Our heritage belongs to us all and we look forward to working with our many partners to implement this strategy and achieve our shared vision,” said Mr. Dooks. “I’d like to recognize the Voluntary Planning Heritage Strategy Task Force and all those who contributed their time and expertise to help create this strategy, as well as our heritage workers — many of them volunteers — who are the daily stewards and advocates of heritage.” The full strategy document and links to the French, Mi’kmaw and Gaelic versions are available at www.gov.ns.ca/dtc .