Recommendations for a provincial heritage strategy were released today, June 21, in an interim report by Voluntary Planning’s Heritage Strategy Task Force. The task force makes 49 recommendations on a range of issues affecting Nova Scotia’s cultural and natural heritage. “The information received through the community consultation process gave the task force members an excellent foundation upon which to create a plan for the future of heritage in the broadest sense,” said Maureen Reid, chair of the task force. “Our research, meetings with heritage specialists and focus sessions with diverse cultural populations also shaped our recommendations.” Among other initiatives, the interim report proposes the restructuring of Nova Scotia’s museum system; greater financial support for heritage; greater incentives and stronger legislation for built heritage; greater emphasis on the heritage of diverse cultural populations; a new approach for underwater cultural heritage; measures to further protect the natural environment; initiatives to collect and preserve intangible heritage such as folklore and music; and the creation of a Nova Scotia Heritage Council. In May 2005, the provincial government, in partnership with the Federation of Nova Scotian Heritage, asked Voluntary Planning to consult with Nova Scotians and gather the information needed to provide advice on a heritage strategy for Nova Scotia. The task force will now consider public response to the interim report and gather additional information before presenting its final report to government, and to Nova Scotians, when it is completed. The interim report is available online at www.gov.ns.ca/vp , at Access Nova Scotia centres across the province or by contacting Voluntary Planning. People have until Friday, Sept. 1, to submit their responses on the interim report. Comments can be submitted through a website form at www.gov.ns.ca/vp , by e-mail to [email protected], by fax at 902-424-0580, by mail to Voluntary Planning, Suite 600, 1690 Hollis St., Halifax, N.S., B3J 3J9 or by phone at 424-5682 or toll free at 1-866-858-5850. Voluntary Planning is an arm’s length board of the government of Nova Scotia mandated to engage Nova Scotians on the important policy issues for our future.