News Release - September 11, 2017

For Immediate Release

September 11, 2017

Community Centre Associations hold community meetings about Joint Operating Agreement – saying: “It’s not a done deal” to Park Board Commissioners

Vancouver, B.C. – Several Community Centre Associations (CCAs) are holding meetings to update members on the current Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), which Park Board Commissioners want them to sign by September 30, 2017. Some CCAs are holding General Meetings and are asking members to vote on whether to accept or reject the draft proposal put forward by the Park Board.

In April 2017, Park Board Commissioners voted to approve a new JOA to offer to 20 CCAs.

While many CCAs are holding community meetings to update members on the situation and to gain valuable feedback on next steps, three CCAs (Hastings, Kerrisdale and Killarney) are taking the lead on the effort and are asking Park Board Commissioners to make select changes to the agreement. Said Kathleen Bigsby, President of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society: “What we are asking for are small changes – minor compromises on the part of the Park Board – but they are important to us. If these changes could be made, it is our expectation that this would result in a majority of the CCAs signing the agreement, providing a win for all involved.”

“We have legal advice that says there are several key elements in the current draft of the agreement that are of serious concern,” said Bigsby. She added: “We can’t, in good conscience, go back to our respective boards and recommend signing the current draft of this long-term contract.”

The areas causing concern are:

  • Infringement of the autonomy of the CCAs
  • Restrictions on use of retained earnings
  • Ability of the Park Board to evict a CCA from all or a portion of their community centre
  • Termination
  • Term and renewal
  • Commitment to community programming

Bigsby explained: “All we want is to have our lawyer and the Park Board’s lawyer go through the language in the document and revise it so that the areas of concern are addressed. Then, we could get this agreement signed and turn our attention back to running our individual community centres – which is what we all want to do.” She added: “Let me be very clear – we want to sign an agreement and we want to celebrate a win for our communities and community centres – and for the Park Board. And it won’t take much to get to that point, if Commissioners are willing to take this one action and send the current draft of the agreement to be worked out by the legal representatives for both sides. We aren’t asking for much from the Park Board, but it means a great deal to us – and whether we sign or not.”

Vancouver Community Centre Associations have an admirable 60 to 70-year 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.

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