The second public meeting for gathering input on the Cultural Master Plan was held at the CCC on Thursday – only 42 people showed up, mostly the same people as always come to these meetings. Three Councillors were there (Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin, Councillors Adam Bureau and Nicole Beatty). A draft plan has been issued and it contains Six Strategic Directions which the Public was asked to comment on. The common theme of the “Directions” is better promotion and communication. It seems we are already doing well and have a good supply of culture – all we need to do is communicate and promote it better. The Plan contains no blockbuster recommendations – some thought it might recommend establishing a new venue for staging shows.
The meeting was started with introductory words from Councillor Adam Bureau who said that he (and the Council) “believe in the power of citizen engagement”. He was followed by Lauren Miller of consultant MDB Insight who went through their findings and the resulting Draft plan (available here).
The plan is intended to guide Council and Staff on their decision making so the concept of “Strategic Directions” makes sense. The public were invited to comment primarily on the action plans and the idea is that the next version of the plan will incorporate some of these suggestions. Each “Direction” had a table and citizens had 15 minutes at a table before being rotated to another – at least that was the plan. The inputs I heard were mostly from people wanting to point out problems and suggesting changes and were not really oriented to commenting on the “directions”.
Strategic Direction #1 – Embrace & Communicate a shared Vision of Culture across the Town
- Develop an internal communications strategy
- Establish a municipal cultural team
- Establish a cultural advisory committee
- Enhance participation on advisory committees and boards
- Engage province in support for cultural programming
- Work with MTCS to develop an appropriate set of performance metrics
- Develop a cultural report card
- Convene an annual cultural summit
- Prepare feasibility study for building and operating a multipurpose cultural facility
- Support the expansion of cultural activities in existing community spaces
Strategic Direction #2 – Improve Communications and Collaboration within the Cultural Sector
- Explore opportunities for a mentorship and coaching program between established & emerging cultural organizations
- Introduce social media and online forums to Experience Cobourg website
- Convene biannual meetings between cultural organizations and cultural industries to increase collaboration
- Provide a calendar of events on Experience Cobourg website
- Explore collaboration opportunities with external communities to advance regional initiatives
- Advocate the creation of an external coordinating body to support implementation of plan
Strategic Direction #3 – Promote Cobourg’s Rich History and Heritage
- Review municipal policy documents & strategies to emphasize consideration and integration of cultural heritage resource conservation
- Engage heritage community to create a heritage story map of Cobourg
- Engage in a strategic planning session with the Alderville First Nation to explore how the history culture of their community be profiled
- Support the recommendations emerging from the Heritage Master Plan that impact heritage tourism, heritage landscapes and storytelling
Strategic Direction #4 – Grow Culture-Led Economic Development Programs
- Conduct a review of the Town’s cultural grant program
- Work with Northumberland Economic Development and Community Futures to ensure their grant programs reflect the needs of creative individuals looking to start a business
- Partner with local organizations to develop business skills workshops for the cultural sector
- Monitor available cultural funding programs
- Add targeted information about Cobourg’s cultural resources to existing market materials
- Explore the expansion of the Downtown CIP to incent the use of vacant building as temporary or pop-up space for artists
- Advocate and support the creation of art-led maker spaces in the Town’s facilities
Strategic Direction #5 – Strengthen Tourism Products by Leveraging Unique Cultural Assets
- Explore the concept of a resident attraction marketing program that showcases Cobourg’s cultural tourism offerings
- Support the growth of cultural tourism by providing relevant content to RTO 9 wayfinding, promotion and programming strategies
- Launch a community storytelling initiative to support the development of cultural marketing content
Strategic Direction #6 – Increase Community engagement among Youth and Volunteers
- Collaborate with youth organizations to support a mentoring system that provides opportunities for cultural development
- Promote the involvement of youth as volunteers on boards for festivals and cultural events
- In collaboration with Venture13, host an annual youth summit to showcase cultural assets and programming and support culturally based learning
- Create a volunteer management strategy
- Promote volunteer opportunities to new residents
When asked about a well signposted “Information Centre” that Dressler House used to be, Staff responded that there are now multiple locations including Victoria Hall. Since communication about Cobourg’s Culture and Heritage assets seems to be a key issue, some felt that this idea could be re-visited.
- The above is a report on the plan as it is now – it’s labelled a draft and is expected to be changed before it’s finally accepted by Council – scheduled for October.
- You can still provide comments and input by going to the Engage Cobourg Web site here. Comments will be accepted there up till September 12. You can also get copies of the Background study and Draft plan there.
Here are some photos of the event
- First Public Meeting on Cultural Plan – 22 March 2019