On February 6th, Cobourg invites citizens to a launch event for the Cultural Master Plan that is under development. It will be in the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall at 6:00pm and “the evening will feature 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.” In the meantime, citizens are invited to participate in an online survey to complement input already received from culture and heritage groups and the business community. Once completed, it is hoped that “the Cultural Master Plan will establish a cultural vision for the Town of Cobourg as well as identify concrete strategies and actions to support cultural and broader economic development goals.”
A “Cultural Master Plan” was first proposed in February 2015 when the Strategic Plan for the previous Council was developed. The first step was to hire a new Director of Tourism and Culture (Dean Hustwick) – now relabeled “Director of Community Services” and then in June 2018, a steering committee was formed (see list below) and a consultant hired. Council and Staff have pointed to this plan for a big part of Cobourg’s future. The Town has said that “Once completed, the Cultural Master Plan will become the foundation and substance for future cultural planning and service delivery for the Town of Cobourg.“ Decisions on what to do about a venue (e.g. the Park Playhouse) or a Museum (e.g. Dressler House) have been deferred pending the Cultural Plan.
With the new Council and appointment of coordinators, Councillor Adam Bureau, Coordinator of Arts, Culture and Tourism, has the responsibility for this project.
The Town has set up a webpage dedicated to this project – go here. The Town suggests going to its Facebook page for more info but as of 24 January, the Cultural Plan was not mentioned there.
The Town’s announcements (notably the most recent one – see link below) look for the plan to guide the way forward but at this stage the consultants are looking to make an inventory of what we already have plus determine what everyone thinks of that. Or as they put it:
The Culture Master Plan will be developed with the following objectives in mind:
- Assess the health of Cobourg’s cultural sector
- Identify the town’s current involvement in the cultural sector
- Deepen engagement of residents with culture in all its forms
- Identify service gaps and improve overall cultural service provision and strategies
- Specifically identify the Town’s future role in Cobourg’s Arts & Culture sector
It seems to me that the key objective is the last one – What will the Town’s future role be in Cobourg’s Arts & Culture sector?
This makes the plan different from two others done in nearby Towns – the Cultural Plans for both Port Hope (May 2012) and Trent Hills (April 2011) mostly simply listed current cultural assets and pointed out ways of increasing participation in cultural activities. Yes, they pointed to a planning “vision” but did not answer the question of taxpayers’ money being used to promote culture although that is really a purely Council decision.
There are two ways to provide input to the Town – complete the survey (see link below) and/or go to the public meeting (6 Feb, 6:00pm – Victoria Hall). Presumably to control potential crowds(!), to go to the meeting you need to RSVP at Event Brite here. Everyone in Cobourg is invited.
- Cultural Plan finally gets going – 30 June 2018
- Survey by Town for Citizens re Culture in Cobourg
- Press release by Town.
- Port Hope Cultural Plan
- Trent Hills Cultural Plan
- Members of Steering Committee – as announced 3 July 2018. They have not met since the new Council was elected. There will be changes since Nicole Beatty is now a Councillor and in addition, the intent was to have 12 citizen members (Duane Schermerhorne died soon after he was appointed).
|1. Adam Bureau||Councillor and designated Coordinator|
|2. Catherine Richards||Heritage Advisory Committee|
|3. Olinda Casimiro||Art Gallery of Northumberland|
|4. Jack Boyagian||Northumberland Players Community Theatre|
|5. Rick Miller||Marie Dressler Foundation/ Vintage Film Festival|
|6. Starr Olsen||Oriana Singers|
|7. Carol Anne Bell-Smith||Northumberland Orchestra and Choir|
|8. Carol McCann||Downtown Coalition Advisory Committee|
|9. Sheila McCoy||Cobourg Art Club and Local Artist|
|10. Astrid Hudson||Member at Large|
|11. Gail Rayment||Member at Large|
|12. Nicole Beatty||Member at Large|