Joint Operating Agreement Update

Happy New Year! We hope that 2018 brings much happiness and success to all of our blog readers, supporters and community centre members. We also hope that it brings a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) that works for the Park Board and our diverse Vancouver communities.

As we come into 2018, we are continuing to negotiate with the Park Board about the JOA. We have one large outstanding issue that needs to be resolved – and then the focus will be on each of our site-specific appendices, which we believe will be straightforward in nature. We are hopeful that the one outstanding issue will be addressed by the Park Board within the next week or so and that we can then move on to the more “operational” specifics for each of our community centres.

November and December were busy for us. We – along with our legal counsel – met with lawyers from the Park Board and were in regular communication with them and staff.

We submitted a letter to Donnie Rosa, Director of Recreation for the Park Board, outlining a key point that needs to be addressed – and once it is, we will be closer than we have ever been to getting an agreement that we are satisfied with. You can read the letter here: Letter to Donnie Rosa – Dec 22-2017.

In essence, the status is: We continue to work on sections of Appendix C in collaboration/negotiation with the Park Board. We have concerns with the language in sections 17 and 18 of Appendix C regarding the Park Board’s ability to terminate a Community Centre Association (CCA) upon expansion or replacement of a facility. Currently, it says that if the Park Board has “reasonable concern” as to whether the association can run a community centre, there is the ability to terminate the agreement. What “reasonable” means in this context is not defined – and the decision by the Park Board could be totally subjective. This needs to be defined – and to be objective.

This might seem like a small thing – but it’s not. It is crucial that “reasonable concern” be clearly defined and agreed upon by the CCAs and the Park Board. Without a clear definition and objective language, it provides the Park Board with the ability to terminate a CCA without having to justify it. And while we don’t expect that this would happen – in protecting the interests of our members – it can’t be left as an option.

We know that staff and commissioners want to get an agreement in place. We do too. This last change to the appendices is the final ask of the group. If the Park Board agrees to it, we will be very close to getting a JOA that we feel will work for us.

We look forward to getting this done, to celebrating a new JOA with Park Board, and to turning our attention back to our communities!