At Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on June 25, Council went into closed session to select the Steering committee for the Cultural Master Plan (see list below) and later approved awarding the contract for a consultant to MDB Insight for $64,890 (+HST). The RFP for the plan is now available (see link below) so now we can get a good idea of what to expect. Dean Hustwick said that there were 34 applications to sit on the steering committee which tells us that there is a lot of interest in the subject. At least three key decisions have been deferred pending this plan: 1) What to do about the Park Theatre, if anything, 2) what to do with Dressler House now that there is no Town staff housed there and 3) what financial involvement should the Town have with cultural issues. Because it will take 12 to 15 months to complete, any decisions or action will happen in the term of the next Council.
According to the RFP, the plan will directly address the third issue and will spell out the role that the Town has in culture – current and future. To do that, it will make operational and strategic recommendations to “stimulate community vitality, economic development and a healthy arts and culture sector”. Hopefully the plan will indirectly resolve the other two issues; in the case of the Park, the question is “does Cobourg need a Theatre (like the Capitol) and should the Town get involved?”
There will be meetings with stakeholders, staff and the public including 2 or 3 public meetings. The public will be informed with newsletters, web materials, posters, mail/hand-outs, explanatory briefs and other summary documentation. At least one survey will be conducted (methodology not specified).
Listed stakeholders are: municipal staff, residents, arts and culture organizations, the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA), Chamber of Commerce and the broader business community, public agencies, municipal advisory committees, past members of the Arts Council of Northumberland, and community interest groups. Many of these are represented on the Steering committee.
The Consultants will have extensive community engagement to:
Gather Evidence on
- Attitudes and perceptions within the general public related to the awareness, consumption and support for arts and culture;
- Knowledge of the community’s existing cultural management and service provision;
- An understanding of how culture contributes to the community’s vibrancy and economic success.
Develop Forums to allow stakeholders, agencies and the public
- To articulate needs, opportunities and issues;
- To identify strategic directions that are meaningful and practical.
- Evaluate the strengths and gaps within the existing culture sector;
- Assess Cobourg’s creative labour force and its contribution to the local economy.
The idea is that community consultation will assess:
- The community’s response to current program and service delivery;
- Issues and needs within the arts and culture sector;
- Opportunities for new initiatives that leverage cultural assets;
- Priority “assets” both municipally owned and otherwise;
- need and feasibility of municipal funding of arts and culture.
This will result in recommendations to provide
- Strategies for increasing cultural participation, engagement and support;
- Potential changes to the municipality’s program and service delivery;
- New mechanisms for ensuring inclusivity, cross-sectoral engagement and future priority setting by the community.
Recommendations will be compared to local and other relevant municipalities in Canada such as Northumberland County and adjacent municipalities. as well as potential partnership opportunities.
The final report to should be completed and presented to Council no later than the summer of 2019.
Steering Committee Members
At the regular Council meeting on July 3, the Cultural Master Plan Steering Committee members will be appointed as follows:
|1. Catherine Richards||Heritage Advisory Committee|
|2. Olinda Casimiro||Art Gallery of Northumberland|
|3. Jack Boyagian||Northumberland Players Community Theatre|
|4. Rick Miller||Marie Dressler Foundation/ Vintage Film Festival|
|5. Starr Olsen||Oriana Singers|
|6. Carol Anne Bell-Smith||Northumberland Orchestra and Choir|
|7. Carol McCann||Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee|
|8. Sheila McCoy||Cobourg Art Club and Local Artist|
|9. Astrid Hudson||Member at Large|
|10. Duane Schermerhorn||Member at Large|
|11. Gail Rayment||Member at Large|
|12. Nicole Beatty||Member at Large|
The confirmation of awarding the consultant’s contract to MDB Insight will also be at that meeting.
- MDB Insight web site
- Work on Cultural Plan Starts – 31 March 2018
- Download RFP for Cultural Master Plan
- Park Theatre Sold – 28 December 2016 – Includes links to 7 articles which give the history of the saga of a possible purchase by the Town.