Work on Cultural Plan starts

The Town of Cobourg is planning to create a Cultural Master plan.  In this context, “culture” does not mean the different cultures of ethnic groups but refers to the arts, both performing and visual, with the addition of heritage factors.  Major goals of the Strategic plan that was developed when the Council was new, were increased awareness of and investments in culture, and an arts and culture centre.  Decisions on what to do about the Park Theatre and the Marie Dressler House have been deferred pending this plan.  However, with an implementation time frame of 12-15 months, any resulting action will be the responsibility of the next council.  At the next Committee of the Whole Council meeting on April 2nd, Council will be asked to approve hiring a consultant to do the work at a budgeted cost of $90,000 and to approve appointing a steering committee who will be recruited from Cobourg’s arts and culture community. The committee is scheduled to be in place by May 2018.

Since the rationale for the plan came from part of Objective 2 in the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan, let’s look at what it said:

Objective 2. Supporting the preservation and enhancement of the Town’s recreation, arts, culture and heritage

Strategic Actions

  • Develop a cultural master plan
  • Develop a policy on the Town’s financial support for arts, culture and heritage
  • Develop an implementation plan for the parks master plan
  • Implement the Cobourg Community Centre campus plan
  • Implement the recreation strategy plan

Desired Outcomes

  • Community awareness and support of Cobourg’s history and stories to be told
  • Well maintained heritage district with consistent application of policies
  • Increased investment in our arts, culture and heritage assets
  • Presence of an arts and culture centre in the Town of Cobourg
  • Recreation services meet the needs of all ages in the Town
  • Enhanced bike and trails systems as well as integrated walking and cycling systems with neighbouring municipalities
  • Receive Prince of Wales heritage award
Dean Hustwick
Dean Hustwick

This work is being led by Dean Hustwick, Director of Recreation and Culture – his covering memo to Council says:

A Cultural Master Plan will help to:

  • broaden and evolve the Town’s role in arts and culture;
  • build a strong, vital and connected arts and culture sector;
  • strengthen communications within the arts and culture network;
  • create vibrant arts & culture places and spaces;
  • provide access and promote inclusion in Cobourg’s cultural life; and
  • expand culture-led economic development.

And that

…. a Cultural Master Plan Steering Committee be appointed from organizations and individuals within Cobourg’s arts and culture community. Furthermore, throughout the project, there will be numerous opportunities to engage the public and stakeholders directly in the development of the Cultural Master Plan itself.


Organizations and individuals interested in sitting on the Steering Committee are encouraged to submit to the Town either an organizational overview/mandate or a Curriculum Vitae along with a brief summary of experience and expertise. Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of the Council Coordinator for Community Services, the Director of Recreation & Culture and the Manager of Community Services. Final recommendations for Steering Committee membership will be brought to Council for approval no later than May 2018.

It seems that the Cultural Master plan will define how much involvement the Town has in Cultural (Arts) activities and whether we need or will get an “Arts Centre”.  We are already pushing wellness, Heritage and Tourism generally – will there now be an enhanced push on Arts?


Update April 2

At the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting, presumably in response to criticism over the use of Consultants, Dean Hustwick answered the question “Why use Consultants for the Cultural Plan?” He said: “Because there are consultants who specialize in Cultural Planning and we don’t have that level of expertise in house”.

Council approved the recommendation so hiring a consultant will proceed as recommended – subject to rubber-stamping approval at the regular Council meeting on April 9.

Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Walter L. Luedtke
6 years ago

Let’s all sing along with the Six CTA Dwarfs – Perpy, Rusty, Duby, Frenchy, Suzy and Corny.
A one-ah, a two-ah, a three-ah!
We don’t need no culture here in Cobourg!
A town where even squares can have a ball!

6 years ago

You have got to be kidding me???? ANOTHER consultant! Culture? We don’t even have a theatre in Cobourg! What a load of baloney.

6 years ago

Not only another waste of time and $$$ as no one from out side the Community ( the consultant ) can possibly come here once or twice and begin to understand it let alone what might be a cultural benefit unless some one tells then I would like to save that one yet are afraid to make that unfounded political decision then it still personal preference by council ,, so lets blame a Consultant — I can’t count the # of locals that want to save the Theater because they went on their 1 st date there and yet Its probably Just Another OLD Building
that’s useful life in that location and has no parking has come to an end and is not of any historic value .

Arts are a passion around here for retirees ( as there isn’t much else to do) not a Culture — sure some of the art is reminiscent of old school
style and technique but its not carved in the community stone .
What this town needs to attract new Business of all types would be Cheap taxes for say the 1 st 2 yrs for tenants not landlords of Vacant buildings and new clean energy efficient buildings to work out of especially on King st . Why are all those Green Energy programs not being used by landlords I will tell you why they want someone else like the Tax payer or tenant to improve These drafty old buildings with single glaze windows and ancient heating syss.— must cost the tenants a fortune to stay open .

To many policies , the cost of maintaining old buildings — Money pits , and the town enforcing its ideas
on people and ne business thinking of moving and investing here tend to stay away when they can’t develop their dream and are forced to live the dream of this town or its consultant .
This mentality has not served us well over the last 10 yrs of Heritage and Revitalization dreams

6 years ago

I’m my opinion, The Arts have never been self supporting, so you are looking at increasing the number of areas that will need extra funding each year. Better we put our resources into bringing more jobs and big business to Cobourg. We have enough “Arts” in Cobourg right now.

Walter L. Luedtke
6 years ago

We are not alone!
In fact seventy-two (72) Ontario municipalities have or are working on cultural plans.
All have recognized the importance of the arts and culture to the quality of life of their communities.
And guess what?
All of them have hired consultants.
While it is municipal politicians and staff that have the power to make changes and implement programs, sometimes an organization needs an expert who is contracted for a period of time to help move forward a particular project or even help redirect a mission.
Consultants bring specialized skills, experience, knowledge, or access to information. They can be strategic or operational. Usually, a consultant offers a fresh perspective on a situation, opportunity or challenge that internal staff may simply be too involved with to manage objectively.
I know that the very word ‘consultant’ moves our local CTA folks to conniption fits.
But 72 municipalities – large and small – feel that they are getting value for money.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
6 years ago

According to Mr. Google (Walter’s favourite source of wisdom) there are 444 municipalities in Ontario. If 72 are wasting money on a “cultural masterplan” then 372 (84%) are not. Why do you think that it is a good thing for Cobourg to be part of the dumbest 16%?

Rusty Brown
6 years ago

We’re proposing to pay $90,000 to an outsider to do our thinking for us? To tell us what we should be doing with the assets we already have? Seriously?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rusty Brown
6 years ago

What assets?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 years ago

90 grand? Chump change for Wally, he doesn’t haven’t any skin in the game.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
6 years ago

he doesn’t haven’t any skin in the game.

PRZT! the sound of Falacious Frenchy’s bs entering the fatmosphere.

Wally Keeler
6 years ago

Bring it on.

6 years ago

More Taxpayer money out the window.

Reply to  Dice
6 years ago

I could be wrong, but it does seem to me that Cobourg hires (or thinks about hiring) a fair share of consultants. These consultants are not cheap and are often from out of town, so I can’t blame the residents for complaining at times.

Reply to  Dice
6 years ago

The town keeps hiring consultant after consultant but never use the info, that is the problem taxpayers have with this council, they won’t make any decisions. With this being an election year nothing will come of this report neither, it just makes a councillors friend 90k richer…..