The B.C. Supreme Court case filed against the park board by six community centre associations, scheduled to begin Sept. 3, has been postponed to Sept. 18, 19 and 20.
That doesn’t come as a surprise considering just how complicated this case is. I’ve written almost two dozen stories this year alone about the conflict between these associations and the park board, so my sympathies go out to the Supreme Court judge proceeding over the case who has to wade through the 45-page document filed by the associations along with what I can only assume will be vast amounts of information provided by the park board.
The case, filed last month, is broken into two parts. A request for an injunction of the OneCard for use at these six community centres — Hillcrest, Killarney, Hastings, Kerrisdale, Sunset and Kensington — was to be heard Sept. 3.
The OneCard is of particular concern to the associations. In June, the system-wide membership card was immediately accepted at seven community centres as well as the city’s rinks, pools and gyms. The six associations are concerned because the OneCard eliminates the need for individual community centre association memberships. According to the provincial Society’s Act, the associations must have a membership list to qualify as a non-profit society. The associations say non-profit status is vital to their ability in obtaining government funding or grants.
The park board planned to roll out the card at 22 community centres, including these six, Sept. 1, when an interim joint operating agreement was expected to be ratified. But when that didn’t happen the six community centres continued to refuse the OneCard for association-run programs. That’s when the park board initially attempted to strong-arm the six into accepting the card, but then eventually backed off. Instead, in a letter of notice to the associations dated Aug. 29, park board general manager Malcolm Bromley told the six their long-standing partnerships with the board will be terminated at the end of 2013. In the case of Hastings Community Centre Association, that relationship started almost 80 years ago.
Bromley wrote in part, “Due to the recent legal actions of the association, it is no longer in the best interests of the public to continue the park board’s relationship with the association and the park board is compelled to terminate the JOA. Accordingly, the park board hereby gives notice to the Association, effective as of the date of this letter, that pursuant to section 26 of the JOA the Park Board hereby terminates the JOA effective December 31, 2013...”
The rest of the case involves accusations of alleged breaches of the current and interim joint-operating agreement brought forward by the associations. The associations also say the interim joint-operating agreement limits their ability to raise money now and in the future.
The rest of the court case is scheduled to be heard Nov. 18, 19 and 20. Click here see a copy of the letter of termination sent to the associations and a statement by Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth.
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