Park Board heralds new community centres deal

Fifteen associations unhappy with results of lengthy negotiations  

Kitsilano seawall. The community association for Kits is one of the 15 groups opposing the new joint operating agreement | BIV files

Not so fast, says a group of 15 volunteer community associations to the Vancouver Park Board.

The majority of the groups that operate Vancouver’s 22 recreation centres say the NPA-majority board wants to ram through a highly flawed new joint operating agreement that has been negotiated since Vision Vancouver controlled the board.

The associations take issue with clauses in the new deal about dispute resolution, membership, finances, contract termination and association governance and autonomy.

(See below for High-level summary of key terms in the new JOA between the Park Board and Community Centre Association)

The 15 associations opposing the new deal are Champlain, Douglas Park, False Creek, Hastings, Kerrisdale, Killarney, Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, Renfrew, Roundhouse, Thunderbird, Trout Lake, Strathcona, West End and West Point Grey.

The Park Board plans to table the five-year deal, with two consecutive five-year options to renew, at its Dec. 12 meeting and hear from the public on Jan. 25. It wants to sign the deal by March 1 with a June 1 effective date.

“We are closer than we have ever been to an updated JOA that reflects the important relationship between the Park Board and the CCAs,” said a memo from General Manager Malcolm Bromley. “Over the past four weeks, Park Board staff have carefully considered 275 pages of feedback that CCAs provided and have made over 100 changes to the body of the JOA.” 

A 16th association may join the list of the disgruntled.

Kensington Community Centre Association was part of the group of six dissidents that sued the Park Board for breach of contract in 2013 over the citywide imposition of the OneCard and the weakening of their autonomy. Kensington president Milan Kljajic told BIV that the board will meet in early January for a special meeting to decide its stance.

“We have our own issues which take priority over the JOA,” Kljajic said. “Our $11 million childcare facility that needs to be built — with the JOA they presented, the big question is who is going to be operating the childcare centre?”

Kljajic said there has been “absolutely no movement” on the proposed building since the NPA took control of the Park Board after the 2014 civic election.

“There are some good highlights in the JOA, but currently the JOA that we have right now it works quite well when both sides are working together,” he said.

A 39-point, high-level summary of the 52-page agreement says community centre users won’t be required to sign-up as association members for any program or service. The Leisure Access Program pass for low-income residents (for fitness centres and all programming) and Flexipass (for fitness centres) will be accepted everywhere and loaded onto OneCards.

Other highlights:

•  Community centres will retain control of operating budgets, at the discretion of park board, which is responsible for capital budget and planning. Community centres will provide annual audited financial statements to the Park Board, which may audit CCA books.

•  Associations receive program, rental, childcare, special event, donation, membership, and grant revenue, but will be required to kick-in up to 2% of gross annual revenue to a new community centre investment fund.

•  The city is the sole owner of facilities (except leased centres) and the park board responsible for maintenance and renovations, but associations will retain ownership of equipment and assets.

•  Associations will use the city/park board-owned and operated registration management system, currently ActiveNet. The city will supply, own and manage all IT and telecommunications equipment but both parties will properly manage the personal information.

•  Elected park board commissioners will retain the responsibility for policy priorities and objectives in the recreation system.

“[Associations] will adopt and adhere to good governance policies. Park Board will provide training. [Associations] will maintain director/officer liability insurance and status as not-for-profit,” according to the summary.

CCA JOA - Summary of Key Terms - Final Draft - 2016-12-01 by BobMackin on Scribd