City adopts culture policy

Castlegar City Council approved a new policy last week aimed at protecting current and future development of cultural activities.

“The City of Castlegar has always been very supportive of culture,” Audrey Polovnikoff, recreational and cultural programmer for Castlegar said.

However she explained city councils do change and she, along with a cultural policy committee, wanted to make the relationship formal.

It took the committee about a year to work on the policy, and Polovnikoff credits Jacquie Hamilton, of both the Castlegar Arts Council and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance for her countless volunteer hours, as well as John Malcolm, Castlegar’s chief administrative officer, for his help.

Polovnikoff said the idea for the policy came from the Castlegar Cultural Scan, which was presented in 2006.

The policy will “recognize the contribution of culture to the community, promote access to cultural opportunities for all residents and visitors, encourage diverse cultural experiences, act responsibly to pass on cultural legacies and integrate culture into the community’s broader vision and goals,” according to the report to council.

The guiding principles of the policy are that “culture is an essential component of community life” and “there will be a shared responsibility for the future growth and development of culture between the community and City of Castlegar.”

Only one part of the policy couldn’t be supported by the city, Polovnikoff said, explaining it was a section titled “providing financial assistance and support to the community.”

The policy suggested the city put aside money for culture but “given the variety of cultural funding avenues and council’s reduction in general grants, staff do not support this proposal,” Malcolm said.

Regardless, she said the committee is “thrilled” that city council supported the policy.

A similar policy has also been proposed to the RDCK, Polovnikoff said.