Hastings Community Association Board Agrees to Park Board JOA

For Immediate Release

April 10, 2018

Hastings Community Association Board

Agrees to Park Board JOA

Vancouver, B.C. – After an extended and in-depth internal discussion, the Hastings Community Association (HCA) Board has voted to accept the current draft of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) put forward by the Park Board. It was not a unanimous vote by the HCA Board.

Sherry Breshears, President of the HCA said: “Unfortunately, this is not a document that makes us want to celebrate.” She continued: “This was a long and difficult process – and it didn’t need to be. For each of us, individually and collectively as a board, the past 20 months or so of work on this JOA have been hard. The fact that our vote was not unanimous should send a strong message to the Park Board. There is a great deal of work to do to rebuild the relationship between Commissioners, Community Centre Associations (CCAs) and our community members.”

Breshears cites an example of the Park Board’s continued disrespectful behaviour toward CCAs: Recently, several CCAs were left off the invite list for a Park Board-led meeting with CCAs to address the JOA implementation. Volunteers from the excluded CCAs had to push back on the Park Board in order to be allowed to attend.

Breshears says that it’s time for Commissioners to step forward and take a leading role in building a respectful, productive and collaborative relationship with CCAs. She is also calling on Park Board staff to work with CCAs. She says that the CCA volunteer board members and presidents deserve to be viewed as strong and equal community partners rather than service providers or order takers.

Said Breshears: “It’s time for the Park Board to stop seeing CCAs as barriers, threats or as a thorn in their side. We are community partners.” In fact, the HCA has been successfully serving its community for almost 85 years – long before the Park Board had anything to do with community centres.

“At the HCA – and I would expect at all CCAs in Vancouver – the goal is always to support, protect, serve and improve our communities.” Said Breshears: “Throughout this close to two-year challenge to get a JOA that works for our communities, the majority of community members throughout Vancouver sent a loud and clear message that they support their CCAs. That is an important point to keep in mind, especially as we head into an election this fall.”

Vancouver Community Centre Associations have an admirable decades-long track record of responsible financial management, community engagement, volunteer commitment, investment in local facilities, and recreation leadership. For more information about this issue, please visit: www.mycommunitycentre.com.