By Perry Lefko

The City of Brampton is about to undergo a major culture change with the development of a Master Plan that will shape the community for 10 years beginning next June.

This is all part of a move by the City that began in the fall of 2016 to move the cultural division out of the Department of Recreation and into the Department of Economic Development.

“The conscious decision is that culture is one of the components that help define a city, specific to the growth of a city,” Bob Darling, Brampton’s Director Economic Development and Culture, told Peel Region Review.

Three areas were set up as part of the change: a new culture division, tourism and special event division and a theatre division to oversee the three theatres in the city.

“This has given us the opportunity to find the best people to drive those three very important files and we’ve done that,” Darling said.

Darling said the development of the Master Plan is one of the most important things that will happen in the City’s history.

“Why is it significant? Because it’s going to give us a ten-year guiding document for the development and implementation for municipal and cultural services,” Darling said. “It will provide over-arching vision for the culture in Brampton. It will outline strategies, action and resources that are required to do it. It will be done in close collaboration with our artists in arts and culture. That’s where I think it’s going to be a little bit different.”

Starting in October, a company will do research and analysis, meet with stakeholders and generally provide a good understanding of all forms of arts and culture in Brampton. The Master Plan will be completed by June, 2018.

“It’s probably the most important thing we can do for where we’re at right now because there’s no clear direction,” Darling said. “With a multi-cultural city such as Brampton, it’s extremely important. How do we get (buy-in) from our different cultures into this? What are they looking for? This is why this document is so important.

“What’s exciting is this is an opportunity for us to shape our community and culture. What it is and how it looks that’s why you go through this process. I don’t want to pre-conceive anything. I want to look at the best document that will guide us for the next 10 years. This is the first time we’ve had a cultural master plan in the City of Brampton, which is extremely significant. With this world changing so much, there’s so many different opportunities.

“I don’t want to be suggesting anything. I want our community and our arts community to really play a significant role. This guides everything we do. How much money do you put into culture? Where do you put the money? We have some significant artists from Brampton, for example Alessia Cara, and they are homegrown. There are so many of these young artists representing Brampton in the world.”