Cultural Plan Update

On June 25, 2018 Council decided to award a contract for $65,000 to consultant MDB Insight to prepare a Cultural Master Plan.  The first progress report on this was presented at Council’s meeting on October 1st. There were no decisions or recommendations – it was just about what had been done so far and where it was going.  Chris Elliott, Manager of Recreation and Culture, went through the objectives, community engagement (both input and messages to the community) and target audiences.  At least two public meetings and a survey are planned although there are no dates yet for those. The steering committee appears to be a good representation of Cobourg’s cultural community – hopefully they will point the consultant in the right direction.  That is, what the majority of citizens’ want.

Chris Elliott
Chris Elliott

The major policy to come out of this will be to guide the Town on how much economic benefit the arts bring to Cobourg and therefore how much taxpayer money should be used to support “culture”.

But first the consultant has to establish what culture means to citizens and how much they are already involved and participating.

Given the items on the progress report (see link below), the Cultural Plan report will include an overview of where the Town currently is – how much it’s involved – and how much it should be involved in the future. [Note: the photo at right was taken at an earlier presentation by Chris to Council]

Impact of Cultural Planning

It will also try to get the public’s idea of what Cobourg’s cultural future should look like.  The progress report included the following:

  • Cobourg is a great place to make a living and a greater place to make a life
  • Cultural planning will support the town’s cultural identity, engage citizens and continue to improve quality of life, now and into the future
  • Cultural planning will help shape how visitors see Cobourg by identifying and strengthening what makes the town special and unique
  • We need to work together to build and ensure strength in our cultural prosperity

Target Audiences

These were identified:

  • Cobourg Residents
  • Arts & Culture Organizations
  • Ethno-Cultural Groups
  • Heritage Organizations
  • Town Council & Staff

Community Engagement

It is planned to have:

  • A Launch Event
  • Community Survey
  • Open House & Pop Up Engagements
  • Key Stakeholder Interviews
  • Focus Groups

Since the consultant will likely lean heavily on the Steering committee, the list of members is published here once again:

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 FoundationVintage 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 (Active in AGN but since deceased)
11. Gail Rayment Member at Large
12. Nicole Beatty Member at Large (running for Council)


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Wally Keeler
11 October 2018 7:42 pm

Port Hope all candidates weigh in on A&C (Arts & Culture) beginning 22.16, ending 38.15.

11 October 2018 4:26 pm

Wally Keeler for Poet Laureate!

Wally Keeler
11 October 2018 1:06 pm

For many years Cobourg has had a Poet Laureate. Cobourg has also had an active poetry/literary community. The Cobourg Poetry Workshop, poetry in Cob(our)g spaces, Lay Your Word Down open mike, Spirit of The Hills literary arts association with a successful literary festival, with plans for another extravaganza in 2019. Cobourg has been resident for a recipient of the Governor-General’s Award for Excellence in Poetry. Many of Canada’s best poets have performed in Cobourg over the years. There is not a single competent voice on the Steering Committee to advocate for literature, the written/spoken word, not even a Cobourg Library rep Cobourg has a rich history of poetry and the written word, beginning with Susanna Moodie and her sister, Catherine Parr, the decades of poetry published in the Cobourg Sentinel Star by great and lesser poets, and the books of poetry published in Cobourg and Northumberland over the decades. Or knowledge of a Cobourg Councillor who recited poetry in Council during the 60/70s, who became a Justice of the Ontario Court, and has published several poetry collections. There has been a wealth of poetry and literature in Cobourg. Which of the Steering Committee members will dare to speak up on behalf of literature as having any cultuiral merit whatsoever.

Walter L. Luedtke
10 October 2018 10:11 pm

A great steering committee to keep this project on course.
Thank you for volunteering.
Good to see Council candidate Nicole Beatty on board.
She will make a major addition to Council!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
11 October 2018 2:21 pm

It is a great Steering Committee. Two reps for the genre of acting, two reps for the genre of music, two reps for the visual arts, and the others with robust association to the aforementioned genres. The cultural genre of literature = ZERO! Yet Cobourg finances a building to house literature. Hmmmm.

manfred s
Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 October 2018 2:54 pm

ya know, I really like the NEW* Wally I see here on this blog (*new to me anyway); making a lot of sense, great advocacies, civil yet edgy, argumentative and challenging yet with much reason, and a pleasure to read. I’m a ‘fan’!

Jason Beatty
Reply to  manfred s
11 October 2018 3:27 pm

I’ve been meaning to post something similar. I always look forward to reading all the banter (and bickering) that goes on here. Usually brings a smile or a chuckle out of me.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  manfred s
11 October 2018 8:08 pm

Aside from my comments above, it is a hard fact that literature and poetry have very little drawing power compared to music, acting and visual arts. How often is a poetry book taken out on loan from the Cobourg Library? In a year? I laugh to think. So it is very easy to be dismissive of this genre.

But no more. There is a way to engage the public in poetry DAILY, to engage them with the best of local poetry, to engage them with the best of Canadian poetry, all in the public domain and as this project accumulates, it can bring literary aficionados throughout the year. It will be unique. Cobourg will become Canada’s Poem Town. That makes me feel good.

Rusty Brown
Reply to  Wally Keeler
14 October 2018 7:24 am

Not only do I not check out poetry books from the library, I have a big shelf of them at home that I don’t even look at any more. It’s all internet these days. Just look it up online instantly. Works great, but doesn’t involve the printed page.

manfred s
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
11 October 2018 7:52 pm

“She will make a major addition to Council!” Do you know something the rest of us don’t or perhaps you have clairvoyance, Walter. If so, please do share some of the really good stuff.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  manfred s
11 October 2018 8:07 pm

There you go Manfred:

10 October 2018 4:17 pm

I like the policy statement…cultural economic benefit to Cobourg versus taxpayer funding involved. Who will it be on Council that keeps the financial scorecard on this new program and has direct control on finding of same. So far we have more than $65,000 in the game.