Community centres’ battle with city heats up 0
The Vancouver Park Board faces a court injunction filed by community centre groups who oppose their takeover by the publically elected body. Killarney Community Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday June 11, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI / 24 HOURS)
Six community centre associations are launching another legal strike against the Vancouver Park Board to prevent it from making operational changes to the facilities.
Since the spring, the centres have been battling with the board over funds they have raised. The publicly elected board wants to pool the funds and distribute them evenly across the city partly through a new program called the One Card. The centres, however, want to keep memberships linked to individual facilities to raise and spend money independently.
The community groups have filed a court action looking for third-party arbitration of the joint-operating agreement between the city and the centres. In the meantime they want to stop the board’s attempt to terminate the agreement in question.
Ainslie Kwan of the Killarney Community Centre Society alleged the city has now tried to take over community centre assets and operations, such as hiring contractors and printing the winter brochure detailing what’s upcoming at the centres.
“We believe it is our brochure, it has always been done by us,” she said. “For the first time ever for the winter brochure it will be done strictly by the park board. Park board senior management is telling staff that we are to have no involvement at all.”
Kwan is concerned if the park board acts to take over operations of the centres while the case goes through court it could end up in a mess after the case is ruled upon.
“What the park board is now doing will be irreparable,” she said. “If they hire all the contractors before this has been settled in court how do we recover from that?”
The centres have filed an injunction to stop the city from being able to make changes, operational decisions or termination of the agreement until the joint-operational agreement dispute has been ruled on in court.
The City of Vancouver wouldn’t comment on the case as it’s before the courts.