The community centre associations that opted out of joint negotiations with the park board about a new operating agreement want to get back to the bargaining table.
Board members from Hastings, Kensington, Kerrisdale, Killarney, Riley Park-Hillcrest and Sunset community centre associations are unhappy with the financial implications of the new joint operating agreement being negotiated with the park board. The board wants the associations to pool revenues, which would then be distributed among all of the city's centres. When these six associations were told the terms of the proposed joint operating agreement were "non-negotiable" by park board general manager Malcolm Bromley, they opted out of negotiations.
The associations aren't commenting on the letter, sent by registered mail to Bromley March 1, but the Courier obtained a copy. The letter says the associations are dedicated to ensuring low-income residents have greater access to community centre programs. But, it adds, "We remain steadfast in our opposition to centralized decision making and any financial model that includes pooling of locally generated revenues." Before these associations begin discussions again, they want the park board to agree to "settle its violations of the current JOA," and confirm it's no longer committed to revenue pooling as the "best option."
These associations commissioned the Mustel Group to gauge local awareness of the issue. It turns out an astounding 67 per cent of the 317 Vancouver residents polled said they were aware of the proposed changes. Considering voter turnout for the 2011 Vancouver municipal election was about 34.6, that's pretty amazing. Of the 317 who took part, 48 per cent oppose the proposed plan, 22 per cent support it and 30 per cent are either undecided or have no opinion. To see the complete survey, visit MyVancouverCC.com.
On that note, the park board is in negotiations with more than half of the city's community centre associations regarding the new agreement. On the table so far are discussions about city-wide use of the Leisure Access Card, which would see cards used by low-income residents accepted at all centres. Previously some centres accepted the passes while others had their own version, which the park board describes as exclusionary.
Meanwhile, NPA commissioner Melissa De Genova successfully brought forward a motion to the park board Feb. 25, asking for more consultation regarding the debate by way of public meetings.