By Cecilia Nasmith
The Town of Cobourg invites citizens to participate in the process that will shape its first-ever Cultural Master Plan.
With this process, the town's press release said, Cobourg joins leading Ontario municipalities in an exercise that will promote itself as a creative and vibrant community with rich and diverse cultural resources that contribute towards growing the local economy and enhancing quality of life.
“Essential to the vibrancy and success of any town is a well-instituted and robust arts-and-culture sector, not only because the sector creates job and drives economies, but also because the $27.7-billion Ontario arts industry contributes to residents' quality of life and visitor experience,” said Councillor Adam Bureau, co-ordinator of arts, culture and tourism.
The end result will be a cultural vision for the Town of Cobourg that identifies concrete strategies and actions to support cultural and broader economic-development goals. The Cultural Master Plan will become the foundation and substance for future cultural planning and service delivery for the town.
An extensive public-consultation process to engage community input, research into the local arts and cultural environment and best practices from around the country will be part of the process, with a number of specific objectives in mind:
Assessing the health of Cobourg's cultural sector.
Identifying the town's current involvement in the cultural sector.
Deepening engagement of residents with culture in all its forms.
Identifying service gaps and improving over-all cultural-service provision and strategies.
Specifically identifying the town's future role in Cobourg's arts-and-culture sector.
The next step in the process focuses on community engagement to seek ideas and input that will help shape the vision, directions and priorities of the Cultural Master Plan. Input and insight will not only be sought from cultural and heritage groups and the business community, but from all Cobourg residents interested in the development of the Cultural Master Plan.
The town is hosting a Feb. 6 public launch event for this initiative, with all interested Cobourg citizens and organizations invited to attend and participate,
Running from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Victoria Hall Concert Hall (55 King St. W.), the event offers an opportunity to see an overview of the Cultural Master Plan development process, a visioning-and-engagement exercise, and an opportunity to provide valuable feedback. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP at the EventBrite link tiny.cc/culturalmasterplan.
As well, an on-line survey is available for citizen input at https://bit.ly/2Fljgzq through Feb. 13.
The Cultural Master Plan is supported by a steering committee made up of key community stake holders, along with Councillor Bureau and municipal staff, who are providing their insights into the cultural needs and opportunities within the municipality.
To assist with the plans' development, the town has engaged the services of MDB Insight Inc. to lead the planning process. This fir has completed more than 50 cultural plans for communities of all sizes across Canada. Their work has already begun, with the background-research and policy-review phase of the process, including a cultural-mapping exercise to develop an inventory of the community's cultural resources.