Cultural plan process defended

Greater Vernon officials insist they aren’t being restrictive when it comes to debating culture.

On Thursday, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee received letters from the Okanagan Science Centre and the Allan Brooks Centre protesting that they have not been included in a steering committee overseeing development of a cultural plan.

“They will have as much opportunity as any other to present their case,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

The ABNC and the OSC could ultimately be added to the steering committee or they could be involved in the planning process through community-based consultation.

“We want input from the whole community. It will be a far-reaching process,” said Cunningham.

In a letter to GVAC, OSC executive director Sandi Dixon questions why the creation of a plan only focuses on arts and heritage.

“By excluding the OSC and other science-based organizations, the breadth of cultural activity in the community is not fairly representative and is inadequate for developing a strong vision for the future,” she said.

A similar argument is coming from the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.

“I believe a higher level cultural plan for the region is an excellent initiative that could serve residents and cultural organizations of our region very well to focus attention and resources to growing the cultural values of the region,” said Aaron Deans, ANBC executive director.

“However, if intended to be inclusive, the strategic plan should extend and recognize all cultural organizations and assets of our region of which ANBC is one.”

Officials with GVAC insist that the definition of culture will be determined through the process.

“Public engagement will be extensive,” said Tannis Nelson, community development co-ordinator, adding that stakeholders will be included throughout the discussions.


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