Town to create first-ever Cultural Master Plan
sets stage for arts, culture and heritage planning in community
The Town of Stony Plain (the Town) has launched a nearly year-long project to create its first-ever Cultural Master Plan, which will shape the cultural development of the community for years to come.
“The Town values the integral role that the arts, culture and heritage play in municipal planning to create a vibrant, sustainable community and to help define our unique community spirit,” says Ken Lemke, mayor of the Town of Stony Plain.
“A Cultural Master Plan will provide a long-term framework and vision for the continued preservation, protection and enhancement of our cultural sector and will identify key opportunities and strategies that the Town can implement over the next several years.”
The Town has retained the services of Millier Dickinson Blais, Inc., Canada’s largest municipal strategic planning and economic development specialist consulting firm, to develop the Plan. The Toronto-headquartered company has completed cultural plans for municipalities and regions of all sizes and circumstances across Canada. Municipal cultural planning is an integrated approach to local and regional cultural development that puts culture at the centre of planning and economic development agendas.
“With the growth that will come to Stony Plain in the coming years, now is the time to integrate culture into the Town’s planning and economic development activities” says Lauren Millier, principal of Millier Dickinson Blais.
In 2007, Town Council established the Community Sustainability Plan (CSP), which governs how the Town conducts its business, providing holistic, long-term strategic direction for the Municipality. The CSP addresses four major themes of sustainability: social equity, economic viability, cultural viability and environmental responsibility.
Birthed out of the CSP, the Town’s Creative Community Committee was established to develop a cooperative, consistent approach to cultural vitality in the community, preserving the Town’s heritage while embracing opportunities for economic vitality. The Committee nurtures the ongoing development of the arts, cultural and heritage assets of the community, overseeing a range of projects (including the Town’s Mural Program, public art, Sweet Sounds of Stony and Alberta Arts Days) that are intended to enhance Stony Plain’s cultural, artistic and heritage-based endeavours.
The Committee will guide the development and implementation of the Cultural Master Plan, which is scheduled to be unveiled in late-Spring 2012.
In May 2010, Council directed administration to create the Cultural Master Plan and approved funding for the $60,000 project.
As part of the planning process, the Town and Millier Dickinson Blais will seek community input over the next several months, engaging local citizens through an online survey, one-on-one interviews and public forums. Project updates, public engagement schedules and complete information are available at www.stonyplain.com.
“Although the investment the Town makes in arts and culture is critically important, that investment will be less effective if we are not fully responsive to the needs of our citizens,” Lemke says.
The Cultural Master Plan is an important step in establishing a cultural vision for the Town and will assist in the identification of municipal and community priorities for strengthening the arts, culture and heritage sector in the community. The final document will be an important planning tool for the Town, its citizens, local arts and cultural organizations, educational institutions, businesses and all who believe the arts, culture and heritage are important facets of economic development, tourism and community living.
About Miller Dickinson Blais
Millier Dickinson Blais was established in 2006 out of a desire to build a collaborative team dedicated to helping communities and organizations wrestle with economic development challenges. With the growing evidence of a fundamental shift occurring in both the Canadian and global economies, the company’s approach to its work remains focused on providing innovative and informed solutions to sustainable economic development. This vision has shaped the firm into Canada’s leading economic development consultancy and positioned it at the forefront of industry thought and practice (Source: www.millierdickinsonblais.com).