To the editor:
Parks board commissioners frequently cite their principle of equity as the reason for their proposal to take over the operation and revenues of Vancouver's community centres. Yet the park board charges different admission for the pools and ice rinks it operates, different rates for its golf courses, and at the Creekside Centre, the only one directly operated by the park board, program fees are higher than association-run community centre programs. Why is equity not in place for these park board-controlled operations?
In 2008, community centre associations and park board together hired a consultant to examine levels of community centre facilities and staffing across the city with the objective of determining what was a basic, equitable level of park board support. The report recommended shifting funding, not more funding, to achieve greater equity. Yet four years later, the park board has not implemented a single recommendation from that report.
Commissioner Niki Sharma denied suggestions that the park board proposal is a "cash grab" by a cash-strapped park board. Yet 900 hours of service at community centres were cut last year because of its budget shortfalls. A number of staff positions are not being filled as they become vacant, again, for budget reasons.
It's always worrisome when a public body's rhetoric is at odds with the facts.
Kathleen Bigsby, Kerrisdale Community Centre Society