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Editorial: Culture what we make it

Community Cultural Plan getting update
Events like the Pinoy Festival are part of Yorkton culture today. (File Photo)
YORKTON - Yorkton is currently in the midst of a rather extensive process to refresh the Community Cultural Plan. 

To do that a consultant has been engaged; Prairie Wild Consulting, to research what is happening in the city at present in terms of culture and from that process, develop a new plan. 

Once the plan is complete it will be up to the City to implement the plan, or at least the parts of a comprehensive plan, which the ‘corporate’ city can actually play a role. 

Of course defining culture is a bit like catching lightning in a bottle. 

When you want to look at it in its broadest terms it is pretty much anything that you want to point to, either directly, or indirectly that happens in the community. 

Wikipedia notes that culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups. 

That is a rather broad definition that overarches much of human activity. 

In the draft consultant’s report presented to the regular meeting of Yorkton Council it is noted they identified 527 cultural resources in the city. That sounds like a lot, but from the brief presentation to Council they include places where people gather to have coffee, grocery stores where ethnic food choices are available and so on. 

In that regard it stands to reason a skateboard shop is a cultural asset in terms of sport, a yarn shop for knitters and quilters, where you buy art supplies, or winemaking supplies, or music shops, and the list could soon cover most retail businesses. 

More obvious of course are the events in the city most would easily identify as cultural, First Nation powwows, Ukrainian or Scottish dance groups, Robbie Burns Night, art shows, and music concerts. 

And, of course in Canada, hockey and curling are rather cultural in terms of sport, although all sports and their venues would fall under culture for most, and by extension where you buy skates and sticks and balls too. 

The common thread to all of the above is that the City has a limited direct role in any of them. 

The City is never going to sell knitting yarn, or goalie pads, or directly organize many events, or open a food spot selling ethnic fare. 

The City’s role is much more about creating core resources for the community, a second ice surface, a new Deer Park Clubhouse and paved walking paths being current projects on Council’s plate that seems to well-fit the City’s role in terms of providing resources with a cultural aspect to them. 

Beyond that it is more about attitude and need.  

A store dedicated to Philippine culture happens because a need locally and regionally was identified by an entrepreneur.  

As our community changes with new people growing the population, the cultural make-up will change and we must be welcoming and supporting of such change. It doesn’t mean the existing culture’s worth is lessened, it just means we become more diverse in what we have here, and that is what the new plan must facilitate.