The current Mayor and Council in Courtenay are doing an amazing job of including Arts & Culture in their thinking, policies and participation.

We would like to help them remember that, and keep their momentum going, by reminding them about the Cultural Services Report that they adopted in December 2019. 

It's super important that recommendations and policy adoptions do not get put on a shelf and forgotten - especially when it relates to the quality of life, health and well-being of our community!

We were very pleased with the results of the Cultural Services Report - produced by Patricia Huntsman and Nordicity. It took a long, hard look at the key cultural stakeholders based in Courtenay (but serving the entire valley), and included CVAG, Courtenay Museum, The Sid Williams Theatre and US!

READ THE REPORT

In particular, we want to keep the recommendations of that report front and centre.

City Council adopted the recommendation to direct staff to consider the strategies and recommendations contained in the report as part of the annual budget and Five Year Financial Plan process on November 25, 2019. This shows that Arts, Culture, & Heritage matter at the municipal government level. 
 
It is our understanding that the proposed budget does not include the financial commitment required to follow through on the year one recommendations in the report. This is concerning to us. In the past, we have experienced that important and significant work to bring Arts, Culture, & Heritage up to par with the level of other communities, tends to fall away as other priorities develop. 
Here are the recommendations in the report:
Short Term (Year 1):
  • Initiate a new Fee-For-Service Agreement with the Comox Valley Community Arts Council including the introduction of a community liaison role
  • Contribute towards the education and outreach position at the Comox Valley Art Gallery
  • Explore the provisioning of additional space for the Comox Valley Art Gallery
  • Support the Sid Williams Theatre in an application to the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund for support, and/or other grant sources.
  • Work with the SWT and the Regional District in determining a funding formula to recognize and support the SWT as a regional asset. The same also applies to the other cultural partners though to a lesser extent due to the wider engagement with performing arts.
  • Work with the Museum in diversifying its revenue base and identifying cost reductions.
  • Begin scoping of cultural planning process by convening an Intermunicipal Cultural Working Group.

Medium Term (Year 2-3):

  • Explore the development of an earned revenue stream and/or pooled charitable fund to benefit the four cultural partners in order to minimize cannibalization of donor and earnings opportunities in a small marketplace.
  • Explore the centralization of marketing and communications among cultural partners and the development of an arts marketing strategy for the area in conjunction with CVEDs and CVA.
  • Work with all cultural partners in developing facilities plans, including the identification of use alternative and non-traditional spaces (e.g. gift shop pop ups).
  • Collaborate with Cultural Partners on improved evaluations and measurement through the development of a cultural scorecard to incorporate into agreements.

Ongoing:

  • Continue to maintain to a high standard all cultural infrastructure and City-owned or leased cultural assets.
  • Continue to encourage and promote cultural amenity contributions as part of the Developer Application Approval Process to help fund and maintain cultural infrastructure.
  • Continue to optimize all multi-year agreements with Cultural Partners as required to provide stability and capacity building in cultural development in the area.

If this is something you care about, please reach out to your City Councillors and let them know you hope they will not let these recommendations fall by the wayside in favour of other priorities!