COLUMN: The planning process

It has been nearly a year and a half since Summerland’s municipal council appointed the Cultural Plan Task Force.

It has been nearly a year and a half since Summerland’s municipal council appointed the Cultural Plan Task Force.

The appointment was made April 13, 2015 and the task force held its first meeting on April 21, 2015.

In the months following, the task force held numerous meetings and community conversations on a variety of topics.

The 33-page report was completed in August and was presented and received by council on Monday evening.

By any standards, this has been a long process and it has involved many within the community. More than 2,300 comments were received through the consultation process.

The lengthy consultation process and breadth of public involvement should result in a plan which reflects on the community’s values about culture.

The question to be considered is what happens next, now that the report has been completed.

The task force included five strategic directions in the document, as a way to guide the community’s cultural development in the future.

Two of these directions are concrete and specific. These directions are establishing an administrative framework to support the arts, heritage and culture, and enhancing public spaces and cultural places. These are strategies which can be measured.

The other three directions are more nebulous. Terms such as, “Reflect Summerland’s cultural values,” “Build on community strengths and assets,” and, “Connect the community,” are hard to measure.

How is it possible to determine the amount of progress made in these areas?

There is a lot of value in having good plans in place, and there is a lot of value in having a cultural plan for the community.

However, a plan by itself is not enough. Any plan affecting the community must eventually result in action.