TASK FORCE FOR HERITAGE, CULTURE & THE ARTS SUBMITS FINAL REPORT

WINNIPEG – the task force created and mandated to examine and recommend ways Winnipeg can move forward in supporting and structuring Winnipeg’s vibrant arts, culture, and heritage sectors has submitted its final report and a new liaison committee will be established to advise Council on next steps Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.

“I want to thank all members of the task force for all their work and commitment,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Thank you, as well, to Councillor Pagtakhan for chairing the task force over the last year. We have tremendous people in the arts community doing great work in Winnipeg, and Councillor Pagtakhan demonstrated strong leadership in bringing people together to examine ways Winnipeg can better support and embrace these important sectors,” said Mayor Bowman.

“We want to continue the important level of collaboration and dialogue that began with the task force’s work, and I will be supporting the establishment of a new liaison committee among arts, culture, and heritage stakeholders who can further advise on how we can move from recommendations to action,” said Mayor Bowman.

“Chairing this task force was both challenging and exciting,” said Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, Chair of the taskforce and Chairperson of the City’s Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services, and Parks (PCSP). “I want to thank Mayor Bowman for creating the opportunity for heritage, museums, arts, culture and tourism sub-sectors to come together to start a conversation, develop a dialogue of collaboration, and recommend ways to enhance Winnipeg’s cultural identity. This was the first time these sub-sectors came together to act in an advisory capacity to the Mayor of Winnipeg, and I was pleased to be a part of it.”

The task force met on ten occasions between September 2016 and April 2017 in addition to undertaking research and stakeholder engagement. This included discussions with each of the task force member’s respective organization, in addition to 30 meetings between the task force Chair and stakeholders including City of Winnipeg Councillors, municipal and provincial departments, and various representatives of arts, culture and heritage organizations.

The task force developed eight recommendations it feels will help the City of Winnipeg better support the arts, culture and heritage sub-sectors across the City.

The task force recommends:

•    The Museums Board be dissolved following a two-year transition period during which a special services agency for City-owned museums and a peer assessment process under Heritage Winnipeg be established to allocate museums funding;
•    Reinvestment and reallocation of the Gail Parvin Hammerquist Fund to support on-going built heritage conservation and redevelopment efforts;
•    The establishment of a dedicated capital fund for the arts, culture and heritage sub-sectors;
•    The establishment of a maintenance fund to support the City’s own heritage, arts and culture facilities;
•    Better enforcement of heritage-related by-laws and fees, as well as the creation of property tax rebates and incentives to support;
•    The establishment of the necessary policy and frameworks to support long-term strategic investment in the arts and culture sub-sectors;
•    A more efficient permitting and application process be developed to support unique events led by Winnipeg artists and cultural groups; and
•    The establishment a Liaison Committee to continue collaboration among arts, culture and heritage stakeholders, and to provide strategic advice to the Mayor and Council on related issues.

The task force was chaired by Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, Chairperson of the City’s Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services, and Parks (PCSP) and was comprised of individuals from organizations integral to the arts community in Winnipeg, including:

•    Christian Robin, Co-Chair, City of Winnipeg Museums Board
•    Thom Sparling, Vice-Chair, Manitobans for the Arts
•    Susan Kuz, Board Member, City of Winnipeg Museums Board
•    Carol Phillips, Executive Director, Winnipeg Arts Council
•    Cindy Tugwell, Executive Director, Heritage Winnipeg
•    Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, Senior Vice President, Tourism Winnipeg

Winnipeg’s arts, culture and heritage sectors are estimated to contribute over $1 billion annually to the City’s gross domestic product representing over 6 percent of Winnipeg’s workforce. The task force report also identifies the significant contribution these sectors make to the quality of life and vibrancy of the City.

“Winnipeg today is a diverse, modern city that is well on its way to one million people strong, and continuing to invest in Winnipeg’s arts, culture, and heritage sectors is an important part of building Winnipeg for the future and building a city we can all be proud of,” said Mayor Bowman.

The Mayor emphasized that recommendations made in the report exist as recommendations only, and will require additional review by the new liaison committee and as well as Council approval prior to implementation.

The task force’s final report can be access here.

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