Town Council has given the go ahead for Huntsville to add its name to a list of Ontario municipalities contributing to Ontario’s new cultural strategy, after a request at last Monday’s council meeting.
Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS), Michael Chan, announced on Sept. 24 that the Province would be seeking consultation from individuals and municipalities to help formulate a culture strategy for the Province that would create “healthier, more vibrant and prosperous communities.” One such group providing input is the Creative Cities Network of Canada, Ontario Members (CCNC/ON), of which Huntsville is a member.
Teri Souter, the Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage with the Town of Huntsville, attending a “town hall” discussion between the province and CCNC/ON earlier this month in Barrie where she says a number common themes emerged.
“The CCNC/ON wants to see collaboration for impact,” Souter said. “To make points to the province on behalf of the municipalities.”
As a result of their meetings, the CCNC/ON has asked all of its members to endorse positions suggestion that the Ontario cultural strategy make provisions that allow for significant municipal input into how funding is managed and distributed.
The CCNC/ON is asking that the strategy’s guiding principles emphasize the importance of local government, invest in funding to help municipalities implement their own cultural plans and advance the role of local governments in fostering culture and the arts through professional networks and organizations. In lay-terms, giving municipalities greater autonomy in cultural decisions.
“The biggest thing to stress to the province is that culture is important, but different in every place,” Souter said. “And while it needs to be support by funding, some of the decisions on how that should look should be made at the municipal level; what works in Toronto may not work in Huntsville and nor should it.”
Souter will be submitted the Town’s endorsement to the province by the consultation periods end date of Dec. 6 and is encouraging anyone and everyone to provide their input.
“I urge people to go to the site and make their comments known. We all have a voice,” she said adding that she is also welcoming comments regarding the town’s cultural future.
Ontario’s cultural plan will conclude its consultation phase in December with the unveiling of the plan slated tentatively for summer of 2016.