Even in the world of politics it took a lot of time, but the City of Yorkton now has a Municipal Cultural Plan.
At the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Feb. 25, the Implementation Strategy — Moving Yorkton’s Municipal Cultural Plan Forward was unanimously approved.
At the meeting Lisa Washington, Community Development Manager with the City explained the Plan has been in the works for some time.
“In 2010, Yorkton City Council adopted the Municipal Cultural Plan and directed administration to examine the findings and bring forward recommendations for an implementation strategy. Since Council approval, a number of issues caused delays in developing an implementation strategy. These include the 2010 flood, staff turnover and changes in related community organizations,” she said.
Work on the plan goes back well before that, including numerous public input sessions.
And Council interest in a Cultural Plan goes back even farther than that. Former Councillor Dick DeRyk asked for City Administration to prepare a Cultural Policy for the City several years ago.
Work was undertaken at the time, but the policy never appeared before Council for approval.
It is not surprising such a policy was a daunting task given the diverse range of things which fall under the umbrella of culture.
Some things the city is already involved in already falls under that umbrella; the public library, and Godfrey Dean Gallery are two of the most obvious examples.
But culture encompasses everything from dance groups, to authors, artists, music and a long list of aspects of our community which make Yorkton a better place to live because they exist in our city.
This time around the province played a role in the process and that likely helped guarantee the plan actually got onto paper and before Council for approval.
Through a Municipal Cultural Engagement and Planning Grant obtained from Sask Culture, Common Ground Consulting worked with the community in 2012 and developed an Implementation Strategy for the Municipal Cultural Plan. The process helped refocus the community with respect to the Municipality’s Cultural Plan.
The value of the plan, of course, is yet to be seen in our community.
In presenting the plan for approval to Council it was pointed out there are “no additional immediate costs” for the City.
The key word from Washington was immediate.
For a Plan to have merit it has to have an investment with it.
The City needs to have more involvement with culture than a piece of paper it can point to.
There must be a commitment to cultural planning and support, and that means dollars.
The city has a start with facilities such as the local art gallery, and they now have a framework to build upon with Council’s approval of the plan.
Hopefully it will lead to more City support for the varied cultural aspects of our community.