planning + policies
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS, Peter Pierobon & Sibeal Foyle
Cultural Planning in North Vancouver - A Brief History
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In 1988 Councils for the City and District of North Vancouver, together with the District of West Vancouver, adopted the first Cultural Plan for the North Shore.

This first plan, the impacts of which are in many ways still being felt today, presented an exhaustive range of strategies: to upgrade and dedicate facilities for cultural performances and exhibition; to revitalize neighbourhood centres around cultural themes; to integrate public art into the built infra-structure of the community; and to embed arts and culture into the three municipalities’ official community plans.

The plan also offered a decision-making framework of guiding principles and policy objectives to shape how cultural planning should happen. And, finally, the North Shore Arts Commission was formed to serve as an arms-length agency for the three municipalities, specifically as the regional delivery agency for the Cultural Plan.

Looking back with the full benefit of hindsight, although the 1988 plan realized a number of successes in local terms and while it still informs some of the “big picture” thinking around arts and cultural needs for the North Shore in a general sense, the coordination of planning priorities and support services across all three North Shore municipalities proved problematic and the list of recommended strategies too broad to implement successfully. In 1996, while a number of the recommendations remained valid, West Vancouver pulled out of the tri-municipal agreement.

In the late 1990’s, with West Vancouver no longer at the table, the Arts Commission re-structured as a bi-municipal agency (the Arts & Culture Commission of North Vancouver), and began work on a second Cultural Plan—focussed this time only on the City and District of North Vancouver.

In 2002 following an extended planning and consultation process, the City and District adopted the North Vancouver Cultural Plan. Phase One of the 2002 Plan (Goals and Strategies) articulated a vision for North Vancouver as a community that understands and values the arts and cultural activities; it also proposed a detailed collection of strategic directions, outcomes and priority actions intended to realize the vision. In an attempt to address some of the implementation issues that had undermined the 1988 plan, Phase Two of the 2002 Plan provided a detailed Delivery & Management Plan.