GRAVENHURST - Not only did the downtown revitalization project take a leap forward with the hiring of a new coordinator last week, council also approved a new task force to handle its major cultural mapping project.
In addition, council has also approved an application be sent to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s Creative Community Prosperity Fund to support the planning project costs, expected to be in the $31,000 total range.
The cultural mapping project will create an inventory of all Gravenhurst cultural assets, not just those in the downtown, even though it is a project through the revitalization project. Town director of economic development and communications Tony Rossi explained that can mean a wide array of things, from the physical, like the opera house, to the more nebulous, like a story of an event long gone by or person associated with the town’s history.
“It doesn’t have to be a building, it’s also the intangible,” he said. “These (assets) could be hidden away in people’s basements.”
The cultural plan is two phase; the first being the establishment of the local volunteer task force to carry out the footwork and gathering of asset information and the appointment of AuthentiCity to oversee the mapping exercise as consultant (thus the $30,000 cost). The second phase will be to compile the collected information into marketing and promotional materials, particularly focused on web-based functions, such as GIS mapping of specific tourism attractions or businesses, complete with address and biographical information.
That is expected to begin in February and finish by March. Rossi said the plan is to also create a mobile device application utilizing the information in the near future as well.
“The information collected here will be used to design that destination app,” he explained.
The appointed task force members are: Rob Currie, Scott Davidson, Gord Durnan, Sarah Goosman, Robbie Irvine, Michael Lawley and Colin Old, with Coun. Joe Donoghue the council representative and chair. Rossi said each member of the task force will be responsible for a specific portfolio, including such things as facilities and spaces, cultural heritage, natural heritage, festivals and events, creative cultural industries or community organizations.
The expected completion of the first phase is February 2013 and will include three public meetings along the way.
“We’re really looking for an engaging process; not just speaking with the task force and council itself, but speaking to the public and getting their input on this,” Rossi said.
He added that he also hopes to see a video documentary created of the process as a way to draw more attention to the project through Internet postings. “I think this is going to be a really fun exercise.”
The funding application would have the potential of cutting the estimated $31,000 by 50 per cent, to as much as 80 per cent. CAO Frank Miele explained the town will budget anticipating a 50 per cent split for 2013.
If the application is successful up to the 80 per cent mark, the town would only be responsible to pick up the remaining $6,200, he said.