An arts component could become an important selling point in discussion of new developments proposed for White Rock.
At its July 26 meeting, White Rock council unanimously endorsed a recommendation from the city’s arts and cultural advisory committee that inclusion of arts and cultural space be raised early by planning staff in discussions on proposed developments.
The recommendation, as adopted, is that council directs staff to refer development applications to the manager of cultural development when received.
The recommendation – for development aligned with the Creative City by the Sea cultural strategic plan – also suggested that the arts component could include either public art pieces, or space where arts events and activities could be programmed.
The original recommendation from the committee was that arts space be raised at the advisory design panel stage of vetting a new development.
But committee chair Anthony Manning noted to council that planning director Carl Izaak and planning manager Greg Newman had already had a conversation with cultural development manager Elizabeth Keurvorst about possibilities of streamlining the process.
“The feeling was that, once it got to the ADP, it would be too late,” he said.
“The director of planning’s recommendation was that, instead, we direct the planning staff to have pre-application-stage discussions with developers to incorporate arts space into their buildings.”
“The spirit of what the (committee) was getting at was there needs to be a conversation with development, as it’s coming into the city, around the need for arts and culture,” Keurvorst said.
“Early in the process there’s an opportunity for staff comment,” she added.
“By including comments about arts and culture early in the process, that will certainly capture the spirit of what the committee is looking for; integrating arts and culture into everyday life.
“There might be opportunities for some developments, there might not, but once developers know that there’s a requirement for them to have that conversation, that could be a game-changer for White Rock.”
Newman told council that when the planning department receives an application there is “an internal referral.”
“We would be looping Ms. Keurvorst into that referral so that we can get initial feedback from her team on the potential for including some public art (component) in a project where it makes sense to,” he said.
“We would do that very early in the process so the design isn’t so far along that when it gets to the advisory design panel we may not be left with the space to work with.”