It’s not widely known, but the poinsettias brightening up park board facilities, including community centres and the Bloedel Conservatory, aren’t purchased commercially. In fact, the colourful plants are grown from shoots at the park board’s Sunset Nursery, which I’ve had the pleasure to visit several times. This year the gardeners there grew 1,323 poinsettias, which have been distributed across the city.
NPA park board commissioner Melissa De Genova brought a motion to the park board last week asking staff to call a meeting to hear from community centre associations and the public as to how, if at all, the 900 hours cut from community centres are affecting them.
In June, I reported the park board wanted to cut 900 hours in total from 23 centres across the city in order to save $50,000. It asked individual community centre associations to come up with ways to save the money and in response, several proposed closing on some, if not all, stat holidays. The new Creekside centre proposed closing on six stat holidays to save 96 staff hours at $28 an hour, while Hillcrest suggested closing for seven days for a savings of 80 staff hours.
De Genova’s motion was amended at the Dec. 10 meeting to direct staff to “assess the impact, if any, of the 2012 budget initiative to reduce community centre hours of operation during low use times, and report back with the appropriate data and information to a future public meeting of the board.” The motion was carried.
As for this holiday season, Douglas Park Community Centre will be closed from Dec. 23 to 26 and Dec. 29 to Jan. 1, while Renfrew Park will remain closed from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1. Meanwhile, Thunderbird Community Centre, which services likely the poorest area of the city, will remain closed from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1. The West Point Grey Community Centre will also remain closed from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1, but the fitness centre, which operates in an adjacent building, will be open for select hours.
This holiday season will demonstrate just how, if at all, community centre closures are affecting neighbourhoods. I’d like to hear from readers with an opinion or incident related to the closures. For a complete list of holiday hours go to vancouver.ca and click on the “Facilities and schedules” link.
Shannon Mews news
At that same Dec. 10 meeting, the park board also approved the proposed concept plan for the Shannon Mews public park. Plans for the four-hectare green space in Kerrisdale will embrace the heritage Italianate landscape style with construction of the first phase estimated to begin in 2014. To see artist renditions of the plan, search for the Dec. 10 agenda at vancouver.ca.