Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Merging of Langley City committees causes concern in artist community

I currently serve on the City of Langley’s Parks and Environment Advisory Committee. When I first joined, it was call the Parks, Environment, Recreation, and Culture Advisory Committee (PEAC).

The committee’s mandate was overly broad. Langley City has a large parks system which includes the environmentally sensitive Nicomekl floodplain. Almost everything a municipality does, and Langley City is no exception, has an impact on our environment. Given these facts, the vast majority of the committee’s time was spent focusing on parks and environmental topics.

While conversation about recreation sometimes got lumped into broader discussions about parks, very little time was devoted to the cultural component of the committee’s mandate.

Recognizing that parks and environmental topics were dominating the discussion around the table, the City of Langley spilt the committee up. The Parks and Environment Committee, and the Recreation, Culture & Public Art Advisory Committee were formed in 2010.

I was surprised to learn that the City of Langley is putting the two committees back together. The PEAC committee passes the majority of all committee resolutions in the City of Langley, and always has a packed agenda.

I can’t speak to the experience of Recreation, Culture & Public Art Advisory Committee members, but the following resolution was presented to Langley City Council last night:

THAT the Recreation, Culture and Public Art Advisory Committee recommend that Council consider revisiting the decision to remove the Cultural and Public Art components from the new Terms of Reference for the Parks, Recreation and Environment Advisory Committee.

AND WHEREAS the City of Langley stated in their 2012 Terms of Reference for Committees that “The Recreation, Culture and Public Art Advisory Committee is used as a vehicle for achieving certain worthwhile goals and objectives in which such achievements clearly result in a direct benefit to all citizens. Arts and Culture fosters a sense of community identity, spirit and pride and fosters growth of individuals to reach their full potential.”

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that a sub-committee of the Parks, Recreation and Environment Advisory Committee should be created that focuses on Arts and Culture.

Because the new Parks, Recreation and Environment Advisory Committee must include representatives from the Langley Environmental Partners Society, Langley Field Naturalist, and Nicomekl Enhancement Society, I’m not concerned that environmental topics will be off the agenda. Past experience shows that discussion around cultural topics will be limited.

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