The Kensington Community Centre Association has opted out of mediated negotiations with the park board regarding a proposed joint operating agreement. It joins a growing number of associations unhappy with the proposed joint operating agreement.
The proposed agreement would see services and programs centralized at 23 community centres across the city and a change in the financial model. Under the agreement, community centre associations would be forced to pool revenues, which would then be distributed by the park board. The park board is in negotiations with 12 out of 20 community centre associations with assistance from professional mediator Terry Harris. Harris’ resume outlines his extensive training and experience in mediation, including work in child protection and personal injury cases.
There were also major changes made to the executive of the Kensington Community Centre Association this week with the addition of Milan Kljajic as president, Brad Tamplin as vice-president and Bal Randawa as second vice-president. Kljajic said former president Stephen Elliott-Buckley resigned from the board.
Kljajic added the association had no choice but to opt out of the mediated negations and join the My Vancouver Community Centres group, which consists of associations displeased with the proposed joint operating agreement.
“We feel like My Vancouver Community Centres is more transparent and more in line with what the community is telling us they want,” said Kljajic. “As opposed to the park board.”
In a letter to Kate Perkins, chair of the Associations Presidents Group, Kljajic detailed the new members of the board and added, “Further, the board also held its regular meeting at which it was voted and decided that we would not participate with your facilitation talks and we would therefore ask [park board general manager] Mr. Bromley to contact us directly for any JOA negotiations.”
The letter finished with, “Finally, the board also voted to be more in line with our community and public opinion and we are therefore joining the group of progressive community centre associations who are opposing the park board demands.”
Perkins said the decision for the Kensington association to opt out of negotiations was that board’s choice.
“They were always in until last night,” said Perkins. “But that was the choice they made.”
Perkins said the goal of the Associations Presidents Group was to get back to the negotiation table. She said the first facilitated meeting held Feb. 16 went well. The second meeting takes place this Saturday, Feb. 23.
“Terry Harris is a strong facilitator with 25 years experience, so I think that should ease some minds,” said Perkins.
Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth said the board’s focus is negotiating with the associations.
“So we hope they reconsider and come back to the table,” said Blyth. “As we move along I hope more associations will join us. So far it’s going well.”