EDITORIAL: The cost of culture

Summerland’s new cultural plan, which was presented on Saturday, was a significant and costly undertaking.

Summerland’s new cultural plan, which was presented on Saturday, was a significant and costly undertaking.

The task force which developed the plan was announced almost a year and a half ago, in April, 2015.

There were nine members of the public and two members of council on the committee. In addition, Summerland’s director of development services provided technical direction and staff support.

This amount of time commitment is significant.

Completing and publishing the report involved additional costs, with $1,375 for the design work ant $1,166 to print 90 glossy, colourful copies of the plan.

And in addition to those costs, the municipality now has a community development coordinator on staff, to coordinate various cultural initiatives and spaces.

The present council’s commitment to culture is significant and there is much to be said in favour of spending money on culture. Quality of life is important to many within the community.

However, economic realities must also be considered.

The emphasis here, as with any public project, must be on getting the best value for the money.

Now that the municipality has put money into creating the cultural plan, it remains to be seen how this plan and the related expenses will enhance and support our local arts, heritage and culture.

Too often, plans or reports assembled by governments or other organizations do not result in action and change. Instead, they are received and soon forgotten.

This cannot be allowed to happen with Summerland’s cultural plan.

Now that the plan has been completed, it is essential that the recommendations be put into practice.

And it is essential that the community can see tangible changes made as a result of this plan.

If this is accomplished, the costs associated with this plan can be considered money well spent.