Party or Slate (if applicable)
Do you know how much your local government invests in the arts? Would you commit to advocating for an increase in that cultural investment for arts, culture, and heritage in your community, within the capacity of your elected body?
Not enough. The citizens of Vernon will be voting in a referendum on whether to borrow $25M in support of building an Arts & Cultural centre. I fully support this initiative. Arts, Culture and heritage make life enjoyable, enhance the livability of our city, and attract talent, families, and investment to Vernon.
If elected, will you take an active role on behalf of your local government in championing the growth of arts, culture and heritage in your community? Why?
Yes. A community that is rich in heritage, arts, and culture is a vibrant place to live, work, and play. It is a community that attracts talent, families, and investment. I have always, and will always, champion arts, culture and heritage.
Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages and are three times more likely to get a degree. Will you commit to making the arts a critical component of every child’s education? If so, how?
City Council does not directly influence curriculum or programs in schools within our city. It does, however, influence recreation and sets priorities for programs and facilities. I believe that there are opportunities for rich education in the arts through our festivals and recreation programs. I will commit to advocating for arts as a priority for Vernon.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
The City of Vernon has discretionary grants that are available to organizations every year. I will advocate for organizations that advance culture and arts. I would support organizations that bring talented artists and performers into the community as they inspire youth and attract visitors while advancing Vernon’s public profile. I see opportunities to encourage festivals and performances that provide exposure to culture.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
I believe that every dollar invested in culture and arts has significant return on investment. Public art and cultural spaces make our city more beautiful and life more enjoyable. I will do my part to make affordable and free art and culture a priority as the city grows.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
Vernon has a rich culture of festivals and cultural events that have the potential to attract visitors to our city. By making it easier and more affordable for permits and variances to be issued I believe we will see more events happening. As a councillor I would advocate for arts and culture to be a key input on all economic development plans and to hold a prominent place on all tourism and marketing material the city produces.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
When artists and cultural workers believe they are valued in our city, I believe they will stay. When our city is seen as having arts and culture as a strategic priority in existing and new community plans the Arts and Culture community will be attracted to the area. I believe that this is critically important to the city and will advocate accordingly.
What do you feel is the single most important issue relating to arts, culture, and heritage in your community, and what action will you take to address it?
I believe that the city desperately needs an Arts and Cultural centre. There is a referendum this fall on whether to borrow $25M to build a new centre downtown. I am and will continue to campaign for the referendum to pass.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I have played the bagpipes for over 40 years. I am an active member of a local pipe band and participate in most, if not all, cultural and ceremonial events in the City. I have taught bagpipes to adults and youth in our community. I have planned, participated in, and attended cultural events across several heritages. I cannot imagine life without music, art, and culture.