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Vancouver park board agenda riles community centre members 0

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

Vancouver community centres are banding together to fight a park board plan seeking to take over central control and revenue collection from the associations operating the facilities.

Jesse Johl, president of Hillcrest Recreation Centre, told 24 hours five other associations from across the city were joining forces following an emergency meeting held at Kerrisdale Community Centre Tuesday night in which residents came out to protest the proposal.

Community associations based out of the Hastings, Kerrisdale, Killarney, Marpole and Sunset centres are putting surplus money together to launch a campaign against the park board's proposal.

Park board general manager Malcolm Bromley, who was repeatedly booed during the emotional information session that drew about 500 people to KCC, guaranteed members there that programs like seniors lunches weren’t on the chopping block.

He insisted the board could maintain programming if the city centralized revenue collection from all community centres and found new “efficiencies” that would also allow it to create more “equity” between the have and have-not facilities.

Bromley became the subject of even more jeering from the mostly elderly residents when he couldn’t promise exercise equipment, which the centre purchased last fall, would not be redistributed to have-not facilities.

The current contract between KCC and the park board allows the community centre to collect revenue to pay for the programming it manages, while the city covers facility maintenance, rent and utilities.

KCCS vice-president Robert Lockhart riled up members further when he repeatedly blasted Bromley for what he called a “cash grab.”

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