The Ville de Gatineau has launched a citizen participation process with a view to developing and approving a new cultural policy, which will modernise the existing 2003 policy.
Gatineau is a city in southwestern Quebec, Canada. It is the fourth most populous city in the province, with 291,041 inhabitants in 2012. It is located on the north bank of the Ottawa River, opposite Ottawa, Canada's capital in Ontario. Gatineau extends east and west of the Gatineau River. It is the largest city in the Outaouais administrative region. Together with Ottawa, it forms the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa-Gatineau), which is the fourth largest urban area in the country, after Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Gatineau wants to adopt a new cultural policy to reinforce its identity. The aim of this cultural policy is to better define Gatineau's cultural objectives for the next decade.
It also aims to mobilise the community around a shared vision of the role of culture in community life, and to develop and reinforce the sense of belonging to Gatineau. Finally, this new cultural policy aims to focus Gatineau's actions on local issues and needs. Sustainable development, outreach to First Nations and support for digital arts practices were not included in the 2003 plan, and are therefore a priority of this new cultural policy.
Ultimately, Gatineau hopes to create a real synergy between residents, cultural agents and local partners, acting as a driver of social, economic and regional development.
By Andrijko Z
Thus, in June 2022, the city started the process of elaborating this new cultural policy, which aims to be strong and modern. As a first step, a working committee was set up. Composed of 2 elected members and 10 representatives of the cultural community, its task is to implement the cultural policy and develop strategies to mobilise and involve the various stakeholders.
A few months later, in autumn 2022, the working committee started to take stock of the 2003 policy and the current state of culture in the city. At the same time, discussion and consultation groups were organised with actors from the cultural community and representatives of organisations from various fields of activity. More than 260 people were interviewed on this topic.
A new phase of consultation took place in March 2023, notably with the online consultation held from 27 February to 24 March on the Cocoriko platform, which gathered 141 participants (71% women, 28% men). The public had the opportunity to express their views on the vision and propose lines of action for the next cultural policy, by sending their reflections in the form of text or audio commentary, with the aim of highlighting an alternative form of participation. In addition, participants also took part in the Faire fleurir la culture à Gatineau forum to enrich the vision and orientations of the cultural policy and make proposals for the action plan, to offer conferences and performances that resonate in the context of Gatineau while opening perspectives on current cultural issues beyond the city's borders and, finally, to increase the mobilisation of the cultural community, partners and residents in relation to the cultural policy project, thanks to a rallying event.
The spring and summer of 2023 were marked by a new stage of the process, that of identifying and prioritising actions over 3 years (2024-2026).
Finally, on 14 November 2024, the City Council adopted and launched the cultural policy and action plan.
Municipal spending on culture in 2024 will amount to almost USD 1.8 million under the 2024-2027 action plan, almost double the amount allocated to culture in 2023 (USD 1 million). In total, nearly 900 people - a third of them artists, craftspeople and representatives of cultural sector organisations - have contributed to the development over the past year and a half, participating in a series of public consultations, demonstrating the investment and commitment of the public to this initiative.
L’info de la Basse-Lièvre - Serge Cazelais
Sources of information (in French):