CCAs hopeful re: Park Board decision to make changes to Joint Operating Agreement
Statement attributable to Ainslie Kwan, Past President, Killarney Community Centre Society
On behalf of Hastings Community Association, Kerrisdale Community Centre Society and Killarney Community Centre Society, we want to thank the Park Board Commissioners for stepping up and voting to make crucial changes to the body of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) at Monday night’s Park Board meeting. This signals a shift in the tone of the relationship between the CCAs and the Park Board and we are – for the first time in a long time – hopeful that we will get an agreement that works for the Park Board and the Vancouver community centres. This was an important step forward. We are still working out the details of the appendices of the JOA, and are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to move through this process without the challenges we have faced in the past regarding this document.
For those Commissioners who communicated with us throughout this process by e-mail, by taking our phone calls, and by meeting with us when requested, thank you. You listened to us and tried to understand our perspective. It is the spirit of open communication that we hope to continue to rebuild the relationship between the Park Board and the CCAs.
We want to particularly acknowledge Park Board Chair, Michael Wiebe, in this process. Mr. Wiebe always took our calls and discussed our challenges with the Park Board’s approach to the JOA in a collaborative, respectful manner. He puts the needs of the community first and did this even when it meant creating conflict with other Commissioners. We appreciate his commitment to the community centres and his support throughout this difficult process.
And – last, but certainly not least – we want to thank Vice-Chair Erin Shum – a community champion who has been unwavering in her dedication to get a JOA that benefits the people of Vancouver. She fought for the community centres, often facing strong and vocal opposition from other Commissioners – both in public and behind the scenes. We want Ms. Shum and everyone else to know how much we appreciate the fact that she has supported us – fully engaged, ready to listen and to act in the best interests of the community centres – throughout this long and challenging process. She is a true community partner and for that, we are grateful.
We are now turning our attention to ensuring that the appendices meet the needs of our respective community centres. We look forward to the day when we can recommend to our boards that this agreement be signed.