A focus group was gathered around the room at Riverside Centre last Thursday evening to finalize a plan for the cultural future of Princeton. The crowd included members of several local groups and discussed a future for their community that was inclusive of all groups and exclusive of none. It was hoped that by the meeting’s end, all those present would have helped finalize a cultural planning document that would help to clarify, coordinate and prioritize initiatives for the community.
One of the big questions was, “What would your vision for arts, culture and heritage in Princeton be in 10 years time?” What followed was a discussion of strategies which might bring the vision closer to reality. The group looked at time lines to reach goals, possible lead groups who might be the best fit to lead the way on particular projects and how to prioritize the vision.
This last brainstorming session was the last stage before a cultural plan is drafted up for the community for February 21. The draft copy will be re-evaluated before a final plan is approved. The final plan has been given a March 21 deadline.
After the cultural vision plan is finalized, an implementation committee will be formulated to help reach some of the goals outlined in the plan. A first draft was reviewed by those present and some improvements and additions were noted. Amongst the future goals for the community’s cultural vision, are to increase the visibility of arts and culture in Princeton, to create cultural partnerships, to ensure sustainability of community events and organizations, to reinforce culture’s importance to the growth of Princeton and to improve inclusivity and accessibility. One longer term goal was identified and that was to develop a Similkameen Valley Arts Council.
Consultant for the cultural plan Vicky Jones said, “we hope to bring all the local groups together with a long term vision, so we can share competencies and expertise. Groups can learn from one another.”
“Attendee Kelley Cook stated that “a good start was made during the Olympics when Princeton united with partners from the Similkameen to advertise the Similkameen as Diverse by Nature at the Ozone venue in Richmond. Our booth was one of the most popular displays and we received a lot of very positive feedback on it. We need to market Princeton as the gateway to the Similkameen.” One of Cook’s focuses has been the heritage trails around Princeton. “I think that we need to make it one of our goals that the 216 kilometres of heritage trail be all up and running.”
While many groups have many ideas about Princeton’s future, it is hoped that by bringing a community vision into focus these groups can become more efficient. “We have a fantastic base of volunteers in our community,” stated Jones. “A cultural plan could make all their lives a little easier, if we can pull resources from each other.”
Jones will still accept input until Feb. 17 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org