An issue that needs to be addressed is the Park Board’s ability to terminate the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA). You can read about it here. The Park Board has acknowledged that this is a serious issue and has put forward proposed changes to the JOA that our legal counsel and we are currently reviewing.
The idea of “speaking truth to power” is currently a hot topic in business, in politics and – thanks to the Joint Operating Agreement negotiations – with Community Centre Associations (CCAs).
A key element in the ability of a CCA to effectively fulfill its mandate and role for its community centre and community is the ability for those on the board and in the community to stand up to what they feel is not in the community’s best interests. They need to know that they can push back on Park Board decisions, can criticize actions and outcomes, and can fulfill their responsibilities without fear of reprisal.
For example – there is a current Park Board proposal to close Templeton Park Pool. The community has told the Hastings Community Association (HCA) that they are not happy at all about this proposal. HCA is pushing back on this. They have started a petition – which currently has close to 1,000 signatures. The Park Board may not like that HCA is involved in pushing back publicly on this, but HCA feels that it is their duty to speak out and to stand up for what its community wants. And it should have the right to do this without fear of being punished for going against the Park Board.
If the JOA allows the Park Board to terminate the relationship for any number of vague and undefined reasons, there is the possibility that the language in the document could be used to threaten HCA in situations, such as the one they are facing over Templeton Park Pool.
CCAs are important and powerful voices that reflect their community’s needs, beliefs and interests. They should have the freedom to speak out without fear of retaliation. The current language in the JOA provides too much room for arbitrary, punitive measures.