Vancouver Park Board’s new registration system crashes

After the Vancouver Park Board replaced an online registration system said to be “very fragile and vulnerable to crashing," registration was nonetheless interrupted Monday morning as people were signing up and paying for fall swim classes.

The failure was not connected to the new registration system, ActiveNet, but rather with the etxternal company respsonsible for credit card processing. 

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The park board released a statement 90 minutes after registration opened, explaining why the failure.

“Unfortunately the external payment card provider suffered a business interruption across a number of city accounts," the park board statement read. "As a result, most people were unable to complete their registrations. The park board has closed the registration system to allow the issue to be resolved."

park board
An update on the City of Vancouver website informs users the registration system had crashed on Aug. 10, 2015 while people were registering for fall swim programs.

The park board statement included, “To reassure our customers, the vast majority of spots remain open. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

Parents expressed their frustration by tweeting the park board questions and complaints.


Registration opened at 9 a.m., Monday, Aug, 10.

The city promoted the ActiveNet registration software, which replaced a cheaper Safari system. 

The city website read: “Our new registration and reservation system is easy to navigate and helps you plan, track and manage all your recreation requests in one place. Learn about the project to upgrade our registration and reservation system. Make your online registration experience more enjoyable.”

In July, the Courier reported that five community centre associations accused the park board of contempt of court over the new cloud-based program registration system.

Hastings, Kensington, Kerrisdale, Killarney and Sunset resisted introduction of the new ActiveNet registration system, and their lawyer, Dean Davison, said the rollout of the system violates the Jan. 17, 2014 court order by Justice Gregory Bowden, which prevented the park board from evicting the associations over their refusal to accept the OneCard pass.

Davison filed an application to stop ActiveNet. The associations claim the park board did not allow them to review or approve the contract with ActiveNet. They saw this as a breach of the court order “by increasing maintenance and transaction fees paid by the CCAs and taking control of the CCAs revenues through the forced implementation of a new software program.”

Community centres paid $1,500 a year plus one to two per cent of online sales and controlled their own funds under the Safari registration system. Under its successor, ActiveNet, they would pay up to $23,000 a year.

Park board general manager Malcolm Bromley said, via email in July, that “[The park board] is comfortable that the implementation of ActiveNet is both necessary and urgent to sustain operations across the network of community centres in our city and not in contempt of Justice Bowden’s order.”

At the time, Bromley also said Safari does not meet payment card industry standards for online security and that the program is “very fragile and vulnerable to crashing.”

The park board’s April 9 update on the ActiveNet project said the initial cost for Safari was $515,000, of which $315,000 came from associations. ActiveNet is projected to cost the city $2 million. A February park board presentation said ActiveNet would also afford the city better data collection.

— With files from Bob Mackin

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