AMICK Consultants Limited was founded in January 1996. We are a cultural resource management firm. We work in partnership with our clients to ensure that the necessary heritage studies are completed with sensitivity to the development project. This means delivering cost effective and time sensitive service. Our clients are not a vehicle for us to undertake research projects. Our clients come to us to solve problems that just happen to be based on heritage matters. The end product may be largely the same as that of our competitors, but the philosophical starting point is that we share the concerns and objectives of our clients.
Advocacy work of AMICK Consultants Limited resulted in the establishment of the Customer Service Project of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MTC) has stated that the purpose of this project was to ensure transparent and fair business practices, high customer service standards, and the removal of the unnecessary regulatory barriers. AMICK Consultants Limited continues to work very diligently today on behalf of all stakeholders to ensure that these targets are realized.
Stage 1: Background Study and Optional Property Inspection
This research is ideally done before any fieldwork. Background research typically includes the examination of historic documents, early maps and archaeological records in order to determine if known archaeological deposits are present within the subject property, what potential forms of archaeological sites might be encountered, and the historical context of land use and occupation for the vicinity. A property inspection documents the present condition of the property. If archaeological potential is determined, portions of the property can only be removed from the subsequent Stage 2 if a property inspection is undertaken which documents no potential for appropriate conditions (i.e. steep slope, permanently wet, etc.).
Stage 2: Property Assessment
This is the field survey of a proposed land use change. The objective of the Stage 2 is to generate an inventory of all archaeological resources contained within a study area and to determine if any may be of potential significance. Typically, this component is mandatory in order to obtain clearance of an archaeological condition of development.
Stage 3: Site Specific Assessment
Stage 3 Site Specific Assessments are conducted on archaeological sites determined to be of potential significance. The site specific assessment is undertaken in order to determine the nature and extent of archaeological deposits and to collect enough data in order to make a determination as to whether an archaeological resource is considered significant under the Ontario Heritage Act. Significant sites require Stage 4 Mitigation through excavation and documentation, protection and avoidance, or a combination of the two. Sites not considered significant will require no further work beyond the Stage 3 Site Specific Assessment.
Stage 4: Mitigation of Development Impacts
Stage 4 Mitigation is undertaken only when a site is determined to be significant in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act. Mitigation is accomplished through avoidance and protection or excavation. A combination of both methods can also be used.
Cultural Heritage Evaluation
Cultural Heritage Evaluation of a study area may be required where there is the possibility that cultural heritage resources may be adversely impacted by a proposed undertaking. These studies are designed to enumerate heritage resources situated within the study area. These studies do not include archaeological resources which are addressed under a separate process.
Heritage Impact Assessment
A Heritage Impact Assessment follows the completion of a Cultural Heritage Evaluation. This study considers the heritage resources enumerated within a study area and the potential impacts that the proposed undertaking may have on these resources. These impacts may be of a direct nature, such as damage to the heritage resources through construction activity, or of an indirect nature, such as blocking visibility through the construction of new landscape features.
Occasionally, heritage concerns become a central issue of contention with respect to the proposed development of a property. Presentations to the public, stakeholder interest groups, and/or elected officials may be required. In some cases, testimony before a judicial body, such as the Ontario Municipal Board may be necessary.
Often the archaeological and historical record can be substantively augmented through the collection of data from knowledgeable informants. These informants could be witnesses to events or processes which are related to the nature and extent of archaeological deposits in their present form. For example, a house built in 1827 may have stood until 1973. In this case, there are likely many local residents who could provide considerable detail about the design and features of the structure. Often, informants are an important link to other resources such as local historians, newspaper articles and family genealogies.
Many unknown and unmarked graves are found in Ontario every year. Often, given the circumstances of discovery, or the proposed land use of the area, it is both necessary and desirable to have the interments removed to a more suitable venue, as in the case of extensive soil erosion to graves on or adjacent to a steep slope.
Aboriginal Engagement is now a mandatory component of the archaeological process and is now an obligation of the archaeological consultant. It is recommended to begin this process as early as possible, but it must be done between Stages 3 and 4.