Pemberton’s cultural scan reveals some conflicts 

Chilliwack consultant can’t fulfill contract so will be re-tendered

When it comes to cultural mapping, Pemberton is looking elsewhere for expertise.

That, at least, is what valley resident Karen Love-Protter, the founder of the Pemberton Arts Council, takes away from the Village of Pemberton's decision to award a $10,000 contract for cultural mapping to a Chilliwack-based company rather than look closer to home.

"Most municipalities work with arts councils on arts and cultural scans," she said in an interview. "Why is it that municipalities, they say we support it, then they go outside of the community because they don't trust or don't respect local artists or artisans?"

On Jan. 13, Pemberton put out a request for proposals for a consultant to do a "cultural scan," basically an inventory and map of cultural resources, facilities and locations to help build an environment that promotes the arts within Pemberton. The RFP was advertised on the village website and through e-mails to the Pemberton Arts Council, the Whistler Arts Council and the B.C. Touring Council.

Love-Protter, the founder of the Pemberton Arts Council felt she had the expertise to complete the contract. She knew most of Pemberton's artists and the resources available in town. She had completed a cultural scan as part of a program with Leadership Sea to Sky and felt she could do the best job of it.

"I'm well aware of what's needed, the data," Love-Protter said. "We've done a lot of that documentation ourselves."

Three consultants applied to do the cultural scan. Two came locally, including Love-Protter's proposal. The contract was awarded to Janzen and Associates, a Chilliwack-based that had done cultural scans in Castlegar, Cranbrook and Nakusp.

The Village met to discuss the proposals on Jan. 27. Sheena Fraser, manager of administrative services, said that the Village felt the proposal from Janzen and Associates was the most impressive as far as the scan but wasn't as strong when it came to mapping. Love-Protter was stronger on the latter point.

The three of them met on Jan. 27 to discuss the proposals. Fraser said in an interview that the committee felt the proposal from Janzen and Associates was the most impressive as far as the cultural scan itself but wasn't as strong when it came to mapping. Love-Protter's was stronger on the latter point.

On Jan. 28 Janzen and Associates, was asked whether it would be interested in working with another consultant on the mapping portion and it agreed. The Village then sent an e-mail to Love-Protter asking if she'd collaborate. She was insulted.

"We offered to do it all for one price," Love-Protter said. "Plus we were going to add stuff to the website, just so we could all be a cohesive arts and cultural community. So when people were coming here, looking things up, they could find it in different places."

Fraser said the village chose Janzen because she had more experience with cultural scans.

"It's like any other consulting, you win some, you lose some," she said. "Based on the consulting that had been done up to date, the strongest proposal we received was Diane Janzen's and as a result she was awarded the contract."

Janzen and Associates, however, ultimately isn't doing the contract due to time constraints.

The Village of Pemberton has now issued a new request for proposals in two parts: one for a mapping consultant and another for the cultural scan.

Love-Protter doesn't plan on applying. After being passed over for the last contract she resigned her position on the arts council board and is disillusioned with how the Village treated her.

"I finally and completely lost trust in the village due to their process of handling the RFP, their general misunderstanding of how to effectively support local businesses and community initiatives and the disrespectful way they deal with local organizations and businesses," she wrote in an e-mail.

 

 

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