Vancouver Park Board legal battle continues as community centres seek another injunction

Six rogue centres call proposed agreement termination ‘retaliatory’

The six community centre associations given eviction notices by the park board Aug. 29 have fired back with a request for a court injunction to have their termination put on hold unless several demands are met by Sept. 13 at 5 p.m.

In the seven-page document addressed to Ben Parkin, assistant director of general litigation for the City of Vancouver, lawyer Dean Davison writes the park board not only wants to terminate the joint-operating agreement between Kerrisdale, Killarney, Hastings, Hillcrest, Sunset and Riley Park/Hillcrest community centre associations, but also want to dictate the terms of the dissolution. Davison calls it the “most extreme example of the park board’s intention to oust the associations from the operation of the community centres and centralized power and revenue with the park board.”

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Davison continues that the park board states plainly in the termination letter sent to the six associations that the reason for the termination of their joint-operating agreements is the fact they filed notice of civil claim against the board in B.C. Supreme Court.

The document calls the termination action by the park board “retaliatory and disingenuous in that it purports to act in the best interest of the public when it does the exact opposite.”

This is the third legal proceeding the six associations have launched against the park board. The first, which went to court Sept. 3 but was postponed until next week, is asking for an injunction of the controversial OneCard for use at those six centres. The six associations refused to accept the OneCard for their association-run programs because it eliminates the need for individual community centre association memberships and could limit their ability to raise money. According to the provincial Societies 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. They argue the introduction of the pass is a demonstration of the park board’s plan to phase out the associations.

The main court case, set for Nov. 18, 19 and 20, will deal with what the associations allege are breaches of the interim and former joint-operating agreement.

Vision Vancouver co-chair Aaron Jasper said the document was sent to the city’s legal department so the park board won’t be commenting.

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