There is a growing body of evidence in Ontario and nationally of the important role played by creativity, culture and quality of place to growing local economies. 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 (Municipal Cultural Planning: A toolkit for Ontario Municipalities, 2011).
Strategic growth in the area of culture, heritage and the arts will depend on our community’s efforts to synergize. Coordination and resource sharing can enhance these sectors ability to accommodate the immediate community's changing socio-demographics and 'pull' in or attract outside cultural tourism. The health and vitality of culture, heritage and arts in our community is barometer of our community's overall health and subsequent ability to attract investment. The Culture, Heritage and Arts sector is an economic driver in our Municipality. Emphasized is that Municipal Cultural Planning is about economic development through culture, creating livable and sustainable Municipalities and vibrant downtowns and healthy neighbourhoods (Ontario Municipal Culture Plan Website, 2010).
The Municipality of Kincardine is ready to develop and implement its own Municipal Cultural, Heritage and Arts Plan. Recent unanimous endorsement of this process by Council of the Municipality of Kincardine and Sustainable Kincardine ensures this readiness. Over the next six months, various stakeholders including TEAM KINCARDINE will design a Municipal Cultural, Heritage and Arts Plan uniquely suited to our Municipality.
The Plan will ensure:
- An effective process of cultural development through the coordination of cultural planning, facility development and support programs;
- The appropriate infrastructure to support the goals of the services offered;
- The efficient and effective use of municipal resources;
- Senior management voice for culture, arts and heritage at budget planning.
- A broad range of cultural services to meet the needs of community members and visitors to guarantee that the Municipality of Kincardine is a community where people want to live, work and play.
Cultural planning brings a number of additional benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Supporting community empowerment through community involvement and ownership of local community initiatives.
- Supporting democratic cultural policy by better understanding what people are doing and want to do.
- Supporting the development of partnerships and improving communication and cooperation among arts and other groups.
- Integrating culture into the larger community more effectively, increasing awareness of the potential of arts and cultural activity to contribute to community and economic development.
Active consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport is ongoing alongside gathering input from the culture, heritage and arts sectors in our community. In the next six months, the expertise and knowledge of the members of TEAM KINCARDINE will be instrumental in constructing and implementing the Municipality's Cultural, Heritage and Arts Plan. Stay tuned for regular updates, news and developments in this process.
1 Cultural Planning Toolkit. Available at: http://www.2010legaciesnow.com