Community partnership leads to cultural growth

By: Diane Ell June, 2012

An interest in cultural planning by five Saskatchewan communities has blossomed into an innovative regional partnership, which includes involvement in the Main Street pilot projects and increased community momentum.

The Cultural Resource Use Partnership (CRUP), made up of the towns of Indian Head, Wolseley, Fort Qu’Appelle, Town of Qu’Appelle and the District of Katepwa, began as a means to work collaboratively on cultural planning. In 2011, the CRUP group first received a Municipal Cultural Engagement and Planning (MCEP) Grant from SaskCulture that enabled them to work together on planning for cultural growth in the area.

Two of the communities, Indian Head and Wolseley, have since been selected as Main Street Saskatchewan Pilots, a program supported by the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport and the Heritage Canada Foundation. The Main Street Saskatchewan initiative was designed to support communities in revitalizing their historic commercial areas.

According to Tara-Leigh Heslip, program coordinator, Indian Head Main Street Revitalization, “Going in the process the community as a whole was somewhat skeptical, but after involvement in the focus groups and other information sharing sessions, we felt a renewed sense of community and are inspired by the wealth of human resources, varied skills, interests and insights we have.”

Ed Attridge, coordinator, Wolseley Main Street Revitalization, says “The community reaction in Wolseley to the Main Street and CRUP programs has been enthusiastic and wide-spread. Main Street Wolseley has received positive feedback regarding the two programs from schools, the business community, the art community and the community in general.”

The process has been very inclusive and has led to lots of re-envisioning of what these communities hope to become. According to Ben Friesen, local businessman from Indian Head, “the experience of the engagement process and planning focus groups were a spiritual awakening for the community.” Youth of Indian Head were also part of the process. Heslip says many, “were inspirational, genuinely engaged and gave valuable insight to their perspective of community and what we had existing in the town to interest them.”