The CCAs submitted this letter to Park Board Commissioners on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
We are writing in a last concerted effort prior to the meeting to be held on Monday, March 6 at the Park Board office, to request you reject or table the Draft JOA and refer it to Staff with instructions to work with CCAs and legal counsel of both sides to finalize the document. After which time, with the endorsement of both parties, the finalized JOA can be re-submitted to Commissioners for your approval. As CCAs demonstrated both collectively and individually at the Public Meetings on February 9 & 16, there are still several clauses/issues that are significant for Associations. We are asking you to refrain from prematurely endorsing a JOA that your partners in this contract are advising, as clearly as we can, that while it satisfies PB’s requirements, it fails to satisfy CCAs’ requirements for a renewed JOA.
These key areas fall under two overarching principles, crucial for CCAs, under which Associations have successfully jointly operated community centres with PB for decades.
Associations are independent legal entities, with an elected Board of Directors, governed by the Societies Act and the Association’s constitution and bylaws. Autonomy is a vital principle for us. CCAs are unwilling to relinquish their authority to PB in any of the areas identified in the Societies Act as being the sole purview of the Association. Similarly, we also do not expect to intrude on matters that are the sole purview of PB, as granted by the Charter.
Together PB and CCAs, through a successful working partnership, which has lasted over six decades in some cases, have built community centres that truly reflect the diversity and uniqueness of Vancouver’s neighborhoods. We are concerned that there is no language in the proposed document that expresses, in writing, what Park Board Staff and Commissioners have verbally stated on numerous occasions – the desire to continue our current relationship. This principle is of utmost importance to all CCAs given the previous City Manager’s efforts to diminish the relationship between Associations and PB and all of its achievements.
If you value and accept these principles as you stated, then the following (5) outstanding items still need to be remedied before CCAs can agree to a renewed JOA:
Based on the current Interim Agreement, successfully in operation at most community centres since 2013, as precedent, we want to continue the Opt Out structure.
Based on legal and CRA advice, we cannot support a fund as structured. Our alternative is an Operations Fee that addresses those concerns. This would be based on the sliding scale (See Nov. 4th Proposal) and would be paid to Park Board annually upon acceptance of CCA audited yearly financials. CCAs would have no further claim to monies in relation to how and where they are spent. We would hope, however, that they are spent within the Network of Community Centres.
In order to ensure the working relationship between PB and CCAs remains strong, we want to have as robust a DR process as possible. We have identified language within the DR section that requires further attention to remove any ambiguity and create certainty that there are no conflicts of interest.
Autonomy of Governance
We acknowledge that the structure of our partnership is complicated and somewhat challenging, however, we are Non-Profit Societies and as such, must adhere to the Societies Act, our Constitution and By-Laws.
There are several places in the Amended Draft JOA (13 January) submitted to you by Staff, where PB attempts to intrude, intentionally or not, into the internal governance of Associations.
While Associations cannot agree to clauses that usurp our right to self-govern, we do recognize that PB wants or needs the ability to act, should any CCA not be in compliance with the Societies Act. We have suggested language in the contract that reflects that intent, and which could and should be enforced if a CCA operates outside of the Societies Act.
With an enhanced and strengthened new JOA, we see no rationale to exert additional oversight over the operations of the Associations.
The intention of the parties is to continue to jointly operate the facilities in close cooperation. This agreement shall be taken to be renewed unchanged every 5 years unless notice of termination is given as per Clauses 20 and 21. We understand PB’s request that CCAs relinquish any claim to the physical asset or social licence to occupy and can agree to that, if language surrounding Term clearly expresses Park Board’s intent to continue our historic relationship and all other clauses in the JOA are acceptable.
OPTIONS FOR COMMISSIONERS MARCH 6th
Commissioners Accept Amendments that will be presented by staff
Our grave concern with this choice is acceptance of language that does not specifically or adequately address our concern(s). The risk now lies with the high possibility of 14 or more CCAs not having the confidence to sign. This then would result in PB having to make the decision if they will continue with those CCAs and how they remedy the fallout from said decision.
Additional Amendments through individual Commissioners
While we appreciate the Commissioner’s would be trying to incorporate feedback, again, we can not have the certainty that what we are requesting is adequately reflected in these Amendments and we would be in the same position as the previous option.
Instruct staff to continue the process
We can stress enough that specifically directing that both parties, along with legal counsel, sit and resolve the outstanding issues is the most responsible and fair to both parties. It’s crucial, as this contract should be in effect for 15 years, that the language addresses risk, establishes clear definitions of roles and reflects the trust that is needed to be successful. We see this process moving quickly with Park Board Staff and legal team sitting with selected CCA representatives and their legal counsel.
We have included a document that provides specific changes needed in the items identified in the current Draft JOA that require further discussion and agreement via legal teams. This document has been provided as a courtesy and is for reference only.
Please also note that the Appendices detailing facilities and operational matters specific to each Association must be finalized and attached prior to CCAs signing.
Fourteen of the Associations (3 of which are currently involved in the lawsuit) have been meeting regularly and working collectively to reach consensus on key issues. We’ve also been in contact with several of the other CCAs and, while we do not speak for them, we have asked for their input and suggestions and kept them apprised of our discussions. We continue to strive to reach ‘Yes’. We are asking that you allow the opportunity for that to occur.
On behalf of:
False Creek Hastings
Mount Pleasant Killarney
Kitsilano Champlain Heights
West Point Grey Strathcona
West End/Coal Harbour