Final Cultural Plan presented to Council

At the Committee of the Whole Council Meeting on 15 October, Consultants MDB Insights will present the “final” Cultural Plan for approval (see link below).  A draft was presented to the public for comment online and at a meeting on 5 September and I estimated 42 citizens came out.  The presentation mostly talks about what was done to create the document with a limited number of recommendations.  As described in the Public meeting, 6 strategic Directions are suggested but most of the plan is about what the role is for the Town and how Cultural activities should be directed.  There were no recommendations on hard questions such as: “should the Park Theatre be purchased and restored?”; “exactly how much money should the Town invest in Culture?”; “Should the AGN have a street front presence?”. Although the RFP did not explicitly ask these questions, they seem implied – see the RFP in links below.

Consultant Lauren Millier
Consultant Lauren Millier

Of course consultants do not talk about what they have not done but omissions are as important as deeds.

Public Engagement

A steering committee was appointed and an associated staff report listed the dates when they were involved:

  • September 06, 2018 — 1st Steering Committee Meeting
  • October 18 — 2nd Steering Committee Meeting
  • November — Steering Committee reviewed and provided feedback on the Online & Telephone Surveys
  • December 12 — 3rd Steering Committee Meeting
  • December — Steering Committee reviewed Cultural Mapping Database
  • January 2019— Steering Committee reviewed the Draft Background Report before it was posted to the Town’s website for public review and comment
  • May — Steering Committee reviewed the draft Consultation and Engagement Report
  • May 28 — 4th Steering Committee Meeting
  • July — Steering Committee reviewed the draft Cultural Master Plan and Appendices
  • July 17 — 5th Steering Committee Meeting

There was also an online forum and a public meeting as reported earlier.

At the same C.O.W. meeting, staff will provide a report on Public engagement which does not indicate what if any change was made to the report as a result. It simply lists how many citizens got involved and lists their comments without any attempt at a summary or overall trend.  However, the Cultural plan does list the findings from engagement so we assume these findings are in fact incorporated.


As explained at the Public meeting, Six Strategic Directions are recommended (more detail in the post on that meeting – see link below).

  1. Embrace & Communicate a shared Vision of Culture across the Town
  2. Improve Communications and Collaboration within the Cultural Sector
  3. Promote Cobourg’s Rich History and Heritage
  4. Grow Culture-Led Economic Development Programs
  5. Strengthen Tourism Products by Leveraging Unique Cultural Assets
  6. Increase Community engagement among Youth and Volunteers

An accompanying staff report concludes with:

The Plan recommends that the Town of Cobourg’s role and responsibilities should be:

  • Establishing Partners — establishing and sustaining relationships with educational institutions, the business community, tourism industry partners, other levels of government and cultural sector organizations
  • Facilitator and Convenor — building connections and strengthening collaboration between cultural sector partners and community business partners
  • Promoter and Champion — acting as an advocate for cultural development within the Town and beyond, by recognizing cultural partners and selecting local cultural sector partners to strengthen cultural experiences

Staff recommend that:

Council adopt the Town of Cobourg Cultural Master Plan and asks municipal staff to evaluate the Plan for implementation and to bring forward to Council for its consideration at the appropriate time any recommendations that require new resources or funding.

Update – October 16, 2019

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on October 15, Lauren Miller of MDB Insight presented the plan to Council. There was nothing different to what is described above – no magic answers on what the Town should do about Culture – no grand plan. In response to a question, Lauren said that the costs shown in the resources column in the action plan were estimated assuming a third party consultant was used.

Council passed the motion recommended by Staff as shown above.


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Wally Keeler
4 years ago

Poet Hope is light years ahead of Cobourg insofar as cultural manifestations in the public domain are concerned.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 years ago

“… Port Hope-based not-for-profit arts organization, led by a volunteer group of curators, artists and art supporters dedicated to bringing contemporary art experiences to Port Hope.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 years ago

“Critical Mass is committed to offering socially-aware and engaging programming that is accessible, inclusive, and serves the diversity of our region.”
That covers the politically correct waterfront.
Do they include people with no artistic talent at all?

4 years ago

Someone had better define “Culture” before this whole thing/plan gets out-of-hand. Perhaps we should all just read and practice the
10 Commandments…That would be a real good start.

4 years ago

$$$$$$$ ??????
Whats wrong with the one Plan printed and plastered on the side of the old Bargain store on the south east
corner of King & Division It didn’t work either