First Public Cultural Plan Meeting

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.”

Adam Bureau - file photo
Adam Bureau – file photo

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.

Links

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 FoundationVintage 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

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Rationale

Good grief! Look at your responses.

Wally Keeler

What is the problem with retirees taking their grandchildren to Victoria Park after a good snowfall and encourage them to make snow angels all over the place. Most of us have made a snow angel once in our lives. It was fun. It was charming. But let’s elevate the snow angel by introducing a plastic bottle with a mix of water and food colouring and a spray nozzle to colour in the snow angel. Bring two or three colours and really jazz up the snow angel. Parents are working hard all day, so it is best if retirees escorted their grandchildren. Get the kids outdoors in the fresh cold air. And it is soooo cheap. Coloured snow angels all over Harbourfront Park. Google it. No where on the planet has a community gotten together to make/colour snow angels. A couple years ago, an Ontario community was going for the Guinness Book of Records for the number of snow angels they made. They failed to get enough. But even so, no coloured snow angels. Boring. Food colouring is organic. You can eat it. It’s cheap. Our parks are laid out like a white canvas asking for multicolourfulism. Our parks are a… Read more »

Walter L. Luedtke

comment image
In Luxemburg!

Frenchy

comment image
In France!

Wally Keeler

Good for Luxemburg and France, but this is about COBOURG. It is one thing to display the creativity of others in faraway blands, another to display one’s own creativity in the proper context of Cobourg: https://youtu.be/_AMXg0jjs90

Frenchy
Wally Keeler

??????????

Walter L. Luedtke

Easy there Wally!
I just wanted to show that concrete can come in a colour other than grey!

Frenchy

Steel.
It was painted red as a rust inhibitor.

Walter L. Luedtke

As a wohumman you should know pink when you see it.

Frenchy

And yet the city of Luxembourg calls it the “Red Bridge”.
https://www.luxembourg-city.com/en/place/monuments/grand-duchess-charlotte-bridge
That steel bridge was painted red. The UV rays of the sun wash it out to pink(ish).

Frenchy

This is 2019, everybody should know pink.

Frenchy

As a man, you should know steel when you see it.

Wally Keeler

Sorry, but the bridge is painted steel. Miami Beach has red cement sidewalks. Locally, burgundy crosswalks by the LCBO used a very inexpensive colourant.

Walter L. Luedtke

There is a growing body of evidence in Ontario and nationally of the vital role played by creativity, culture and quality of place in growing the economies of competing local municipalities.
‘More and more municipalities across the country are turning to cultural mapping and municipal cultural planning to leverage local cultural assets to support economic and broader community development agendas.’
Cobourg is no pioneer here, since 72 Ontario municipalities have cultural plans in place.
Being competitive in attracting businesses is no longer just a matter of good transportation. Cobourg has that, but it needs more of an edge.
The quality of the local labour force is vital.
Wally Keeler is always on about creativity. And he has a bigly point.
Members of a creative labour force are highly mobile and choose where they want to live.
And where they want to live is in places with high quality of place including diverse cultural and entertainment options and unique natural and built heritage.
Quality of place attracts people who in turn attract business and investment – not vice versa.
Place matters!!!! Just look at the members of Council who have returned to Cobourg or have made a choice to live here.

Wally Keeler

I cannot extol enough the creative juices flowing and flowering in Port Hope, by the Critical Mass artsies, and other independent art-activists over there. They inspire. They are forward thinking. Then we come to Cobourg. Take a read of all the commentators to this blog and where is the inspiration? Where is the creativity? Does it emanate from any of the pseudonyms on this blog, ever? Where is the creativity? The inspiration? Where? Parking spaces is a cultural issue, so yes, that will inspire people, get em all riled up. Archival records in perpetuity is a cultural issue that inspires hundreds or thousands of people to get up and applaud its common sensibility. But where is the creativity? The inspiration? Northumberland Players and associates have produced theatre of national importance, and theatre that moves, theatre that thinks, and theatre that entertains. That is a collective of creative people in acting, stage design, directing, the whole enchilada. The quality of music available in this town from bar room rock to concert hall opera is a superlative mix.. But what creativity is manifest in the public domain? There is a bit. The standing business man on King, the victim’s remembrance sculpture in… Read more »

Rusty Brown

I don’t think it’s a good idea to entice people out onto the west pier in winter. It’s a very dangerous place, with all that ice sloping down to very cold water on every hand.

Did the “creative juices flowing and flowering in Port Hope” happen just by serendipity, or was it the result of local government fiat and endless planning by committees and consultants and the resulting expensive reports and recommendations?

Just wondering.

perplexed

WHY DID THEY MOVE BACK thats a good question— affordability ,down size , less traffic , cleaner , fewer Cultures to deal with and Personal Safety These were all reasons given to me by new acquaintances that have located here in Cobourg over the last 10 yrs

Wally Keeler

“…fewer Cultures to deal with.…”

Tell us what that means perplexed? Be open and transparent about it,

perplexed

It means different things to different people of course
It can be both a positive or a negative depending on your Personal views .
I was merely offering a perspective of the reasons many relocates to this area
have openly with out fear of reprisal have shared as 1 of the many reasons for moving here– Another reason I forgot to mention was that we had a Newer Hospital with quick access to medical attention , but that seems to be a fading benefit as more and more patients are shipped out of the area for help and the waiting times to get , or see a Dr. even in Emergency have become unacceptably long

Wally Keeler

It means different things to different people of course
It can be both a positive or a negative depending on your Personal views .
I was merely offering a perspective of the reasons many relocates to this area
have openly with out fear of reprisal have shared as 1 of the many reasons for moving her

You failed to answer the question openly and transparently, perplexed.

fewer cultures to deal with
What did that mean to you when you heard it?
What do you think it meant to the relocates who told you that?
Can you tell me how “fewer cultures to deal with” is a positive thing?
And you, perplexed, tell us what you think about “fewer cultures to deal with

Walter L. Luedtke

Wally, leave it.
These folks either cannot or will not understand what a ‘Cultural Master Plan’ is all about.
To them it’s just a frill that wastes hard-earned taxpayer money.

perplexed

Successful Thriving Community with successful small business owners & employers would be far better than a lot of wishful thinking and Feel Good words . Every time a self employed small business operator part of Canadian culture and back bone fails here in Cobourg or King st. we look the other way, ” Leave it alone ” and avoid the real question of Why ?
Whos talking Taxes ?

Wally Keeler

… and they have spent a lifetime shopping at Mediocrity Mall, or maybe that should be Mediocrity Maul.

manfred s

Walter, I’ve probably missed it somewhere but could you please explain for me, what IS the interpretation of “culture” in the proposed Cultural Master Plan? I feel completely ignorant on this. And yes, I’ve read the list in John’s post but it doesn’t really tell me anything about what “culture” is, as an identifiable “sector”, what “services” are involved, what aspects of living in Cobourg will be affected, etc, etc,. I don’t see where municipal government is directly involved from a cultural angle. I do have some notions of my own but sure would like to get some thoughts from an educated perspective on the subject. I just don’t comprehend the issue, I guess.

manfred s

Judging, which I am perhaps ill-equiped to do, by the references you’ve offered Wally, I’m still at a loss as to how our municipal government can actually produce a “Master Plan” to address the almost endless aspects of “culture” or in what way it might do that. I also have taken the assumption that somewhere in all of this there is an intent to develop a sub-group of policies that would guide the municipality in ‘dealing with’ culture-based issues, or whatever, that might emerge from time to time, or maybe how and to whom municipal funding for ‘cultural matters’ is to be allocated when requested. In any case, the span of the culture umbrella is almost infinite and actually is already covering much of what goes on day to day in Cobourg today. I just can’t make any coherent sense of it and can’t see the need for such an attempt at compartmentalizing day to day life. Sure as shootin’ tho, it’ll eventually mean more bureaucratic oversight in the form of more staff and add another line or two to the budget, and maybe that’s the end game anyway, as in ‘hey look, at least we’re doing…. uh, some..thing?’

Wally Keeler

Politicians, bureaucrats and politicos are more often purveyors of mediocrity, than of creativity. It is reasonable for Stratford council to facilitate attendance of the Stratford Shakespearean Theatre, to allow a chrome statue of Shakespeare, and do other things to develop that aspect of Stratford’s culture. It generates $$$$. Likewise, Niagara-On-the-Lake has the George Bernard Shaw Festival. The politicos will facilitate that literary culture because it generates $$$$. But the culture is already established for them. They didn’t create it. Cobourg Council will create absolutely nothing culturally because they have no ability to do so. However, they can facilitate, encourage, the creative ideas of others. Methinks, the use of the word culture in this Town instance largely refers to the creative arts (music, theatre, visual arts) They were the only arts genres called to adjudicate what culture is and where it should go. Creativity outside of those genres will be exceedingly difficult to promote, because there is no one to cheer them on. Take a look at the committee members. Not a single individual competently represents the literary arts. The literary person can certainly speak to the Committee, but, who on the Committee, can step forward and claim any competence in… Read more »

perplexed

THOSE ARE YOUR WORDS NOW — SPIN IT ANY WAY IT WORKS FOR YOU . WHY HAVE 4 OR 5 MORE BUSINESSES MOSTLY RESTAURANTS ON KING ST BEEN LISTED and come on the market for sale in the last week including Marca’s at the Harbor the answers are obvious
aren’t they !

Ben

If they had prepared a long-term business plan they would have found out some of the foundations of the business we’re extremely shaky they weŕe probably told this but decided to open up anyway

perplexed

yes I agree having been self employed all of my life But the fact still remains DID WE ASK why they failed what contributing factors were not evident to the unsuspecting eager Entrepreneur at the out set.
Most did have a business plan and a certain amount of Funding in place but the Facts provided and the actual costs incurred
come as a surprise and many with the support of our small business development program at the County and our Towns Economic development teams Promo and Pitch they use when marketing of Cobourg Who could fail .!

What surprises me is that the Economic Development team or DBIA has never investigated why even if they provide $ support or start up $, They have not kept records of the huge number of closures over the years and if they have its not available to the public or next years wish full thinkers those with a dream of a successful small business in Down Town Cultural Cobourg

Wally Keeler

“THOSE ARE YOUR WORDS NOW — SPIN IT ANY WAY IT WORKS FOR YOU.”

They are your words, right from the beginning. You posted them. They belong to you. “fewer cultures to deal with” Not to worry perplexed, people here know what you meant by that, regardless whether you weasel word it away or not.

perplexed

JUST one of the many reasons people mover to Cobourg
Politically correct or not Fact

Wally Keeler

Yes, a reason that needs real courage to articulate. Weasel words are the way of cowards.

sandpiper

Does the Town have a defined base as to what Culture is ?? or is this a make it up as you go sort of thing
This sounds like its about Art and architecture What are we trying to achieve here ?
Or is this more about improving our Cultural living experience here in Cobourg ?
things like accessibility, Parking where you need it not just about the total number of parking spaces the town purports to have some where , How about dealing with the wait times at the Cobourg Hospital Emerg . thats a every day Cultural problem but its funny long wait times not a problem in the specialty departments ?
Aren’t these Cultural problems Too ?

Wally Keeler

I recommend that you take your deep concerns to the Feb 6 meeting of the culture committee. If you truly and passionately believe what you assert here, then it is important that you make those notions known to the committee and the public at large. Accessibility is a cultural matter you say, and yes, it plays a part. eg. accessibility to the cultural offerings of the CCC, so I lobbied a few years ago for new sidewalks and shoulder repairs to make mobility scooters of seniors accessible to the CCC, although I caught a lot of spiteful flak from some individuals for doing what I said I would do. And then there is the cultural issue of parking spaces that you raise, but you didn’t make any recommendation of where those parking spaces should be? It would be helpful if you could do that when you approach the committee, to articulate a convincing argument. Btw, ask the Town to include an awning at all parking lots to shelter the increasing use of mobility scooters by our elders. That addresses two of your concerns: parking and accessibility. Create solutions. All Cobourg needs is an abundance of creativity.

Albert

And what about the travel lift?

Wally Keeler

12 members and not one representing writing/literature. I wonder which one spoke up on behalf of the writing/literature arts? Did any of them call on Cobourg’s Poet Laureate for input? Oh well, we will see if there is any reference to the written arts Feb 6 when they lay out their thoughts.

Ben

Nor a member representing History, local or otherwise. But of course Cobourg doesn’t want to collect history, witness the policy to destroy videos of Council meetings after three months!

Wally Keeler

All you need is a downloader app and you can have a dupe for as long as you wish, hand it down in your family on a thumb drive.

Ben

Why should we do that? A proactive Council interested in preserving history would not only change the rules to disallow destruction but proactively provide a folder on the Town’s website for an electronic archive.

Wally Keeler

My suggestion works NOW. It’s very inexpensive, especially, if you or anyone else wants a copy, It could be proactively duped it for a Loonie per episode. This is something that can be done proactively while we wait for the Town Council to make a decision to proactively provide a folder. Go ahead and approach the Council on this – you have a good idea, worthy of support, including mine. But in the meantime, I can take individual initiative {remember that?} and proactively download Town Council meetings and will have them in the event that the Town fails to implement your proactive suggestion in time to save any of them. That may make them more valuable. I have several videos of Town Council deliberations going back years on my YouTube Channel now – go look them up – they’re free. Perhaps the Cobourg Public Library could implement your suggestion. After all, they have been the repository of all the Cobourg newspapers, microfilm et al. The Town pays for that. I hope your lobbying of this change of policy works. Once you achieve it, it will set a precedent for the next Poet Laureate to have folders set aside for their… Read more »

Ben

Wally the subject of an electronic archive is probably very significant and the Town doesn’t want to do it or have not said that such a folder should exist. It is official policy to destroy local history, as far as Council recordings go. That should change.

It should be a matter of local interest as the Municipality will live on in perpetuity, as opposed to those of us who populate this board. The electronic archive should be setup for the collection of all of the local electronic efforts – blogs et al. I know of one major website that passed from a prominent Cobourger to a site in Toronto hosted by an old school pal because he couldn’t find anything local. For instance hands up by all who don’t not think that John’s efforts here should not be preserved? Seeing none I will proceed.

Because of its website and the chance that it will never fail it is an obvious place for such a folder. I will be making such a suggestion to the Committee but it should be made by a person who represents Local History, but unfortunately no person is sitting on the committee to make that point.

Wally Keeler

I made all those points and more concerning the loss of newspaper archives last year. Locally, they are now available. Again, personal initiative. That’s why I have video records of Cobourg Town Council meetings going back years, even before Mr John Draper got into it and subsequently did better.

There is no one sitting on the committee regarding the world of literature/writing for me to make my poetical points, but so what, what would that matter? It matters not at all. I make my pitch points to those who have been chosen for the committee. If that makes it a more formidable challenge, than having someone already installed that understands the issue, so be it. Matter of fact that makes it better because it should inspire you to stretch your mind muscles to articulate to those who do not have the depth of understanding that you have. It gives you the advantage. Having to explain it to them is a good thing.

Do I understand that you are suggesting that Cobourg Town Council stash its video proceedings in perpetuity on a site other than a Town site?

Miriam Mutton

A very timely discussion, Wally and Ben. And important to town cultural planning I agree. As far as I can determine on the Town document centre site the latest Record Retention Policy and Procedure is dated December 2012. The related by-law which I could not locate yet is 94-2012 and may identify the time frames for record retention and disposal. With changes in communication and technology since 2012, including loss of local newspapers and growing popularity and reliance on individual bloggers for news, a review of the by-law seems due.

Ben

Miriam, the official reason given to me about the destruction of videos was that “there is no legislative requirement to keep records other than minutes of official meetings.” Apparently videos are just ‘notes’ of a meeting.

Implied but not stated was the feeling that they are doing us a favour by doing this.

Miriam Mutton

Chuckle. So much for the local government version of the Parliamentary Record.

Wally Keeler

Those apply to political records, not necessarily cultural records.

Ben

And that attitude should be expunged.

Ben

Do I understand that you are suggesting that Cobourg Town Council stash its video proceedings in perpetuity on a site other than a Town site?

Never, the Town site is the only site that will never go out of business!

Wally Keeler

Since they don’t, I do. Here is one I have of your address to Council in 2010. Nice that I have this stuff eh? Individual initiative. https://youtu.be/BLpxZ5HjsHQ

Ben

Probably the last time Council thought I made sense!