Why Summerland needs a cultural plan

On Sept. 12 we are all invited to a Conversation Café at the IOOF Hall at 7 p.m. The topic is ‘Creating a Vibrant Cultural Community’

On Sept. 12 we are all invited to a Conversation Café at the IOOF Hall at 7 p.m.  The topic for the evening is ‘Creating a Vibrant Cultural Community’ with the premise that culture is important to Summerland’s health and wellbeing.

Hosted by the District of Summerland’s planning department and the local Community Cultural Development Committee, the evening will be an initial step in the information gathering process of developing a Cultural Plan for our community.

Municipal cultural planning is a modern technique that helps communities of all sizes become more creative cities.  It is a tool for identifying what is unique about a community and using it for  economic prosperity and improved quality of life.

In May, I wrote about cultural industries such as performing arts, visual arts and heritage institutions, writing and published works, film and video production, broadcasting, advertising and creative design, and interactive digital media.

Each of these industries is represented in Summerland, some more visibly than others.

We know from available research that cultural industries are becoming important components of today’s economy, propelling innovation and development.

Cultural planning goes beyond identifying those sectors and asks us to participate in a process where we work together and weave our tangible cultural assets such as the KVSR, galleries, festivals, trails, people working in the above noted industries, etc., with our intangible assets – the stories and traditions that contribute to defining our community’s unique identity and sense of place.

Ultimately the goal of a cultural plan is to create what is known as a Creative City – one that attracts the bright young minds that are driving the economy, re-building vibrant downtowns and supporting sustainable communities.

The proof is available all over the world.

The more creativity and culture a community offers, the greater the incentive for people with similar interests and values to live and work here, and hopefully to also start businesses that will employ others.

A cultural plan helps us get from here to there.  ‘Here’ is a sense that we know many things about ourselves and different groups in different areas are working to identify these.  ‘There’ is an intentional and directed plan to help us achieve a long range and holistic vision for Summerland that is linked with our strategic and economic objectives.

Refocusing and redesigning our urban landscape is a significant challenge for government leaders.

However, building a more prosperous and creative local economy is fundamental to cities such as Summerland in order to compete with other dynamic urban areas.

Please join the conversation on Sept. 12.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at  manager@summerlandchamber.com or our chamber president, Arlene Fenrich, at  president@summerlandchamber.com.

 

Christine Petkau is the manager of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.