Kelowna's culture plan could use more 'pizzazz' - InfoNews

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Kelowna's culture plan could use more 'pizzazz'

Cultural Services manager Christine McWillis updated Kelowna city council, Monday, May 27, 2019 on the new Cultural Plan she's drafting.
May 27, 2019 - 2:40 PM

KELOWNA - At least one city councillor is looking for more excitement around Kelowna's cultural future.

“I’m hoping to see something that has a little more pizzazz,” Coun. Luke Stack told Cultural Services manager Christine McWillis after she updated council on the Cultural Plan she’s in the process of revising.

“The way it sits, in this format, is technically all correct, but it doesn’t inspire me yet,” Stack said today, May 27. “I’m looking for something that will inspire a vision that people will say: ‘Yes. This is the direction our city is going.'"

The current Culture Plan was completed in 2012 and will be revised by the fall. So far, there have been several forms of public input but the details are still to come.

The existing plan calls for a per capita investment of $25 per year. The city has't quite reached that target, currently spending $24.19, McWillis said.

“We would grow it (per capita) for sure,” she said told council.

That’s the amount the city is spending to operate its facilities. The cost of upgrading existing facilities and building new ones runs to the tens of millions of dollars.

After the meeting, McWillis told that the “big four” cultural facilities all are calling for expansion.

Three of the four were included in the city’s 2016 Civic Precinct Land Use Plan.

It calls for the Kelowna Community Theatre to expand on the land to the north to 1,200 seats from its current 826. That comes at a cost of $52.5 million and is slated, in that plan, for 2026-27.

Kelowna Heritage Museum is listed as needing to double in size at a cost of $38.5 million in 2029-30 while the Rotary Centre for the Arts expansion is estimated to cost $3.4 million in 2027-28.

The fourth facility, Kelowna Art Gallery, is not included in that document but also wants more room, McWillis said.

But, it’s not all up to taxpayers.

“This is a community plan,” McWillis told council. “This isn’t just about what City Hall will invest. This isn’t just about what we as a city will do. This is about mobilizing the community into investing in arts and culture.”

That’s where Stack wants to see the pizzazz factor in the hopes that residents will rally behind projects that inspire them.

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