After nearly three years a Municipal Cultural Plan for Yorkton initiated in 2007 was presented to City Council at its regular meeting Monday.
“In 2007, Yorkton was selected as one of four communities in Saskatchewan to undertake the cultural planning process as part of a pilot project initiated by SaskCulture Inc.,” explained Darcy McLeod, Director of Community Development of Parks& Recreation with the City.
The first meeting in Yorkton occurred in November of 2007. Representatives from Yorkton’s cultural community were invited to attend an informational session with SaskCulture’s Project Manager, Dennis Garreck and their lead consultant for this project, CEO of Inner Circle Management, Marian Donnelly. The concepts behind cultural planning were outlined, and the meeting attendees were invited to participate by volunteering on a steering committee to oversee the project, noted a report circulated to Council.
McLeod said with a Steering Committee in place, the community was consulted.
“Public input was received and incorporated into the Municipal Cultural Plan utilizing various methods. A community open house was held on May 15, 2008 at the Gallagher Centre aside from presentations being made to City Council and the Leisure Services Committee as well as a presentation being made to the Rotary Club in July 2008,” he said.
“Focus groups were held in October 2008, with over 20 groups including representatives from arts organizations, the Business Improvement District, Yorkton’s cultural and recreational facilities, and the Regional High School.”
McLeod said the plan should not be looked in in isolation of other City initiatives.
“This document should be considered to work in tandem with other municipal planning documents. The work that has been done in the past few years in Yorkton has provided a significant framework toward a successful future,” he said.
The Plan set out several key actions, but the start of the process is to ensure the document is acted on.
“Of utmost importance is the establishment of a Cultural Committee, a group of individuals who will take responsibility for ensuring that the objectives of the Cultural plan are met, and to establish the measurements by which the success of this plan can be monitored and evaluated. The Cultural Committee will first establish a terms of reference for their work, but should ideally be comprised of representatives from the arts community, the business community, City Council, city administration, the school boards and the Aboriginal community,” detailed the report.
“While the Cultural Committee will act as the “stewards” of this plan, the proposed network of cultural organizations and artists can begin work of improving communication between organizations and brainstorming ways to improve their marketing and positioning in the greater Yorkton region. This process would greatly benefit from the financial support of the City of Yorkton.”
The report suggested the investment is one for the future, said Dennis Garreck from SaskCulture at the meeting Monday.
“We encourage the City of Yorkton to consider this plan as a framework, a blueprint for the creative potential of your next generation of citizens. Any investment made in culture today will pay dividends for generations to come. We encourage your City to be the first in Saskatchewan to adopt and implement a cultural plan. We respectfully submit this cultural plan on behalf of the Yorkton Municipal Cultural Plan Steering Committee, and all of the participants of the planning process. We look forward to seeing Yorkton recognized as a place where good things happen, in very creative ways,” concluded the actual report.
Coun. Les Arnelien wanted to know what sort of price tag might be associated with the plan.
“How many dollars are required to get the results we need?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” replied Garreck, adding it really comes down to the decisions taken in regards to “how the city is going to support this.”
After the presentation Garreck said the idea was not to put price tags on the plan, but rather allow the community and Council to set its priorities from within the document, and “not get bogged down in how they’re going to pay for it.”
Garreck said they hope once aspects of the plan are implemented they hope it will gain “some momentum,” to help it be fully utilized.
Council left the Plan with Administration to formulate priorities and how to best implement those.
McLeod said he will want to “go through the key objectives,” but added “in some cases we’re already doing some of this stuff.”
Even with the Plan McLeod said, a lot more work lies ahead, adding he hopes to have a report back to Council before year-end.