Below is a news release that we distributed to Lower Mainland media on November 23, 2016.
For Immediate Release
November 23, 2016
Community Centre Associations call for Park Board meetingas show of good faith
Vancouver, B.C. – A group of Community Centre Associations (CCAs) is urging the Park Board commissioners to meet with them on Dec. 3, two days after the expected release of a new draft of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), a document that will set the working relationship between the CCAs and the Park Board for the next 15 years.
Said Ainslie Kwan, Killarney CCA past-president: “Over the past several months, 15 Community Centre Associations have worked together, putting in hundreds of hours on weekends and weeknights, to define what must be included in the JOA so that we can continue to effectively serve our communities. We want to have a discussion with the commissioners about what is included in the JOA from our proposal, prior to the Special Meeting in January. We are asking for just 90 minutes of their time.” She added: “This is a crucial document regarding the future of community centres in Vancouver and it needs to be informed through meaningful consultation. We hope the commissioners – the people elected to represent the needs of the community – will act in good faith and agree to this brief meeting with us to discuss the proposed new JOA.”
In early November, the 15 CCAs provided the Park Board with a proposal that provides the necessary elements of an effective JOA that meets the needs of the CCAs and the Park Board. The associations have informed the Park Board that they will recommend signing the JOA to their directors, if the proposed JOA addresses and resolves the issues as set out by the CCAs’ proposal. While the Park Board has acknowledged receipt of the proposal, there has been no discussion with the CCAs regarding their input and how it will be reflected in the JOA.
Explained Kwan: “We feel that we have not been heard in this process, and given that many of us have been involved in the leadership of Community Centre Associations for many years – some for decades – we have a great deal of useful information, knowledge and insight to share.” She continued: “Community centres serve an important purpose in our communities. We are committed to ensuring that we will continue to provide affordable and accessible programs in each of our unique Vancouver neighbourhoods.”
The Park Board recently moved its Special Meeting, at which the public can respond to the JOA, from mid-December to a to-be-determined date in January. It is unclear how public input at that time will impact the JOA as, according to Park Board communication with the CCAs, the commissioners will vote on the JOA at the Special Meeting.