The City of Abbotsford spends less than similarly sized municipalities on supporting culture, a new report has found.                                Abbotsford News file photo

The City of Abbotsford spends less than similarly sized municipalities on supporting culture, a new report has found. Abbotsford News file photo

City of Abbotsford spends comparatively little on culture, new report finds

City asks public for input on new culture strategy

Abbotsford doesn’t fund its cultural programs and organizations as richly as other communities, a new city-commissioned report says.

While the city has boosted its support of programs, similar cities still provide much more funding for cultural activities. That is one of the key findings included in a “State of Culture Report” as Abbotsford begins work on a new culture strategy.

The city is also now calling for the public’s feedback on the strategy.

The State of Culture Report says the city has many opportunities to “take a leadership role in culture delivery,” particularly by working with community organizations and partners.

The report, which was created by Lord Cultural Resources in tandem with staff, gauged total per capita cultural spending in Abbotsford at about $6.24 per resident.

Four of five similar Canadian communities chosen for a comparison spent more. Kelowna, Guelph, Ont., and Peterborough, Ont., directly spent more than double Abbotsford’s per capital tally. Kelowna, for example, spent more than $15 per person on cultural resources. Delta, B.C., spent slightly more, at $7. Only Lethbridge, Alta., spent less, but it compensated by doling out more than $17 per resident in cultural grants. Abbotsford doesn’t provide cultural grants.

“Activating culture outside of traditional facilities can enhance services and make culture accessible to everyone,” staff told council in a recent report.

The city says the report will inform its work on a new strategy. It says the plan will “provide a clear direction, long-term vision and a framework on how the municipality will support and manage culture in Abbotsford and integrate this into a wide range of local government planning activities.”

A survey can be taken at letstalkabbotsford.ca/culturestrategy.

Three community workshops will also be held. They will take place at the Ag Rec Gallery at Exhibition Park on Feb. 25 and March 9 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., and March 4 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

RSVP at abbotsford.ca/culturestrategy.

RELATED: The Reach Gallery Museum opens 3 new exhibitions

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