Culture, Economy, Community: A Cultural Plan for Chatham-Kent


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Presentation delivered by Anne Gilbert, Councilor, Municipality of Chatham-Kent at November 27 2008 "Economies in Transition" forum in Chatham, Ontario.

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Culture, Economy, Community: A Cultural Plan for Chatham-Kent

  1. 1. Culture, Economy, Community: A Cultural Plan for Chatham-Kent Jointly funded by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent Federal Department of Cultural Arts and Heritage To view the complete document visit
  2. 3. Municipality of Chatham-Kent <ul><li>Amalgamated in 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>23 incorporated towns, villages and townships into one </li></ul><ul><li>256 elected officials to 18 </li></ul><ul><li>Second largest municipal land mass – 2,494 sq. kilometres, 105 kms x 72 kms </li></ul><ul><li>One hour from Windsor, Sarnia and London </li></ul><ul><li>56 internal business units, not including PUC and C-K Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Inventory of 825 bridges </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Our mission: We work in partnership with business, all levels of government and the community at the large, to actively promote, encourage and facilitate community economic development in Chatham-Kent </li></ul><ul><li>Federally funded by Industry Canada, Fed Nor </li></ul><ul><li>Serving rural communities of less than 40,000 population </li></ul><ul><li>61 CFDC’s in Ontario (5 are Native) </li></ul>
  4. 5. C F D C’s <ul><li>Small business loans of up to $150,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Community economic planning and development with some grant funding NOTE: CFDCCK financed the first business plan for the Capital Theatre project. The Board championed the pursuit of doing the Cultural Masterplan and contributed $20,000.00 to the project </li></ul><ul><li>Goal is to create job opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporated not for profit, volunteer Board of Directors </li></ul>
  5. 6. Decision to Embark <ul><li>Strategic Planning – </li></ul><ul><li>CFDC’s mandated by Industry Canada to do strategic planning. Initial consultation with Board identified Culture/Tourism and Agriculture as a projected focus of activities </li></ul><ul><li>The Discovery - Municipal Cultural Forums </li></ul><ul><li>The Promotion - Selling the idea to pursue a formal process of cultural mapping </li></ul><ul><li>Grant opportunity – ‘go for it!’ – NOTE: Council would not have pursued the Cultural Mapping process without partnership funding </li></ul>
  6. 7. Why Now in C-K <ul><li>After 10 years with great progress in meeting infrastructure needs i.e. roads, water, sewer, energy, bridges we have no identity </li></ul><ul><li>2 logos, no branding </li></ul><ul><li>Need to come together for a common goal </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of local community identity and pride </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Development issues (Smokestacks!) </li></ul>
  7. 8. The Reality <ul><li>Grant approval came before Council’s strategic planning sessions </li></ul><ul><li>Buy in from the bottom up </li></ul><ul><li>Budget concerns override strategic priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Many ‘don’t get it!’ – not only cultural planning but strategic planning </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking down the silos difficult, internal and community wide </li></ul>
  8. 9. The Difference of our Cultural Mapping Project <ul><li>Had to be concrete, focus on ‘economy’ </li></ul><ul><li>Second consultant, Steven Thorne, assessed C-K for cultural tourism opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>“Culture-nomics” </li></ul>
  9. 10. Challenges of the Process <ul><li>More staff time required than anticipated </li></ul><ul><li>IT/GIS department not included in RFP </li></ul><ul><li>Summertime </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer vs. staff, who is going to be responsible in the long term to implement </li></ul><ul><li>Buy in from senior management and Ec Dev </li></ul><ul><li>Working in silo’s internally and externally, volunteer and public sector, will require leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Concept not truly understood by majority </li></ul>
  10. 11. Desired Outcomes <ul><li>Identity, branding, signage – a process has begun to address signage issues </li></ul><ul><li>Tourism strategy, Steven Thorne, implement ideas for market development of tourist opportunities – Council has funded a product development person to begin to implement suggestions contained in the report </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a culture of thinking strategically and implement accordingly, proactive vs. reactive – new CAO in place as of Nov. 1, changes are in the works </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a non-political mechanism for Communities to work together while maintaining their individuality – Project Coordinator in the process of forming Create CK and CAT’s </li></ul><ul><li>Council buy-in with $$$$ - asked for 150,00 in ’08 received half </li></ul><ul><li>Create solid partnerships between business, the not-for-profit sector and funding partners to build a community movement to implement Cultural Plan – slowly forming </li></ul>
  11. 12. Create C-K <ul><li>3 Part Program </li></ul><ul><li>Create C-K Consortium </li></ul><ul><li>5 Regional Action Teams – CATs </li></ul><ul><li>Create C-K Strategic Summit </li></ul>
  12. 13. Cultural Action Teams - CATS <ul><li>The following regional titles were generated to mitigate the stigma of a forced amalgamation. The areas boundaries would be fluid and based on historical development of the region and their culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndenham </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thames-St. Clair </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Land Between the Lakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Erie Ridge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upper Thames (Fairfield </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Ongoing Challenges <ul><li>Keeping momentum - Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Beaurocracy – governments move too slowly for the volunteer sector </li></ul><ul><li>Politics – keeping focussed on the big picture </li></ul><ul><li>Resources – continued financial support for staff (based on a political budget process) </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of Culture – ‘elitism’ vs. ‘culture-nomics’ </li></ul>
  14. 15. “Low Hanging Fruit’ <ul><li>‘ ArtSpace’ - new artist co-op in downtown Chatham, joint partnership of Thames Art Gallery, CFDC, a local entrepreneur and artist’s </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Tecumseh Parkway’ – a 1812 legacy project </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Promised Land’ – a 5 year, 5 million dollar research project on Black History </li></ul><ul><li>Heritage Tax relief bylaw; Church inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Ridgetown rejuvenation committee based on cultural assets </li></ul><ul><li>‘ White Paper’ Cultural Symposium – Feb. </li></ul>
  15. 16. If I had to do it all over again…. <ul><li>Formed a strong cross departmental team ie. Oakville </li></ul><ul><li>Worked harder on educating Council </li></ul><ul><li>Appointed members to interim committee prior to the end of the project ie. Oxford </li></ul><ul><li>Found corporate partners in the beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Had a communication person (volunteer or staff) educating and promoting the concept </li></ul><ul><li>Had Ec-Dev firmly on side before going forward </li></ul>
  16. 17. Recession = Opportunity <ul><li>Acting strategically, using a Cultural Masterplan, municipalities have an opportunity to ‘re-tool’ their economic base </li></ul><ul><li>“Quality of life is good economics, focus on the real fundamentals that make your community attractive to corporations.” Dr. Mark Partridge, Swank Professor in Rural-Urban Policy, Ohio State University </li></ul>
  17. 18. Thank you. Anne Gilbert [email_address] Chair, Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent Councillor, Ward 6, Chatham Municipality of Chatham-Kent 519-676-4333