As manager of Battlefields Park, the National Battlefields Commission (NBC) allows Canadians to benefit from Canada’s first national historic park and one of the most prestigious urban parks in the world. The NBC has a 2022-2025 strategic plan that sets out its ambitions and will guide its actions through a changing context.
Located in the heart of Quebec City, the park combines recreational, natural, and historical vocations that make it unique. For example, the park has archaeological remains, as well as buildings and monuments of heritage value, a true historical heritage of Canada, that the NBC must preserve for future generations, in addition to presenting it. As part of its mandate, the NBC must also preserve and showcase its natural and arboreal heritage, a mission that is even more important and current because of climate change.
The NBC’s financial context leaves it little room to implement new projects and improve its infrastructure. In addition, its capital assets, many of which are heritage assets, already require significant catch-up in order to avoid further degradation, as the conservation of the park is one of its core responsibilities. The NBC will therefore have to continue analyzing the findings of the Report on Building Condition prepared by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in 2020 and 2021, required to plan for consistent asset management and to obtain a true assessment of the required investments. The NBC must therefore carefully examine its priorities, maintain rigorous control over its budget and closely monitor project spending at each stage of its development.
As manager of the park, the NBC is responsible for ensuring the safety of users and its staff, including ensuring that its facilities and services meet safety standards, including the sanitary measures in force. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will have been an increase in the number of visitors to the park, which leads the NBC to increase its efforts related to the safe cohabitation of users, particularly through the establishment of dedicated infrastructure and signage.
Conversely, since 2020, the pandemic has had a negative impact on the NBC’s revenues generated by the Plains of Abraham Museum and parking lots. To overcome this, it must innovate and be creative in order to diversify the services offered to visitors: virtual activities, family games on the park, etc. The NBC also has to deal with labour shortages, which sometimes force it to downgrade its activities.
The Plains of Abraham site is a coveted venue for major events such as international competitions, cultural events, races, marches, fundraising events, Fête nationale, etc. Considering the mandate of the NBC, maintaining a balance between the historical vocation and the urban park vocation is essential. In order to respond, the NBC must strictly ensure that the characteristics of this heritage site are respected. The accessibility and integrity of the territory may also be affected by certain projects or major works. In a spirit of collaboration, the NBC will continue to monitor and supervise any event or project on the park.