The park board has called a meeting to help address public concerns regarding its proposed joint operating agreement, also called the Community Partnership Agreement.
The meeting was arranged to attempt to answer questions from the public regarding the proposed joint operating agreement, which would see the park board taking revenue from room rental and programs at local community centres. For more than 40 years that revenue has been retained by those community centres’ non-profit, volunteer-driven associations and used for everything from staffing to programs to computers to helping build actual buildings, such as rinks and pools. The Vision Vancouver-dominated park board argues the money should be pooled into a general account to be distributed amongst "poorer" centres. The park board calls the recommendation “non-negotiable.”
The associations say by removing that revenue, their ability to raise money in order to qualify for federal and provincial “matching grants,” would be negated.
Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth said the meeting was called to ensure the correct information is reaching the public. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, two emergency meetings were held at Kerrisdale Community Centre, as well as one at Killarney Community Centre, regarding the proposal, which would see a centralization of the centres. During the afternoon meeting held at Kerrisdale Community Centre, vice-president Robert Lockhart said the park board has threatened that association with eviction if it doesn’t comply.
In an open letter to “Community Centre recreation participants,” Blyth wrote in part, “Please be ensured that all programs and services now being delivered at the community centres will continue uninterrupted. Seniors’ services, childcare, youth sports activities and other key programs and services will continue. It’s business as usual…”
As of Friday, Feb. 1, the public meeting was scheduled to be held at the park board’s administrative building, 2099 Beach Ave., Monday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. But considering almost 1,000 people attended the three meetings Jan. 29, there has been some discussion about moving the location. Any change in venue will be updated on the Courier’s website.