Summer 2016 President’s Message
The Kerrisdale Community Centre Society was formed in 1943 and spent its first decade lobbying and fundraising to get pubic recreation facilities in Kerrisdale. In those early days community centres were funded through a special tax levy on residents of the area that was implemented after a local area plebiscite approving such a levy. It wasn’t until the mid-70s that community centres were built from general City revenue; over the past twenty years community centre associations across the city have raised millions of dollars to add to the City’s allocation to renovate, expand or replace community centres and other recreation facilities.
This community has invested a great deal of time, energy and money in the Kerrisdale Community Centre for over 70 years; it has a vital role in its operations!
Role of Community Centre Associations
Many Vancouver residents wonder why a community centre association in each community exists and why they are required to have a membership in order to take a program at a community centre.
The early planners of Vancouver’s community centre system believed that the best service to each of Vancouver’s neighborhoods would be achieved if each community played an active role in managing its community centre. Our community centre is jointly managed by the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation under the terms of a contract called the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA)
What do you get for your membership fees? When you pay your membership fee each year, you become part of the decision making structure for your community centre. You have the right to raise issues and to vote at the Annual General Meeting of the Society, to stand for a position on the Board of Directors, to participate on any Board committee: Program, Facilities, Finance, Pool and Arena, Youth, Community Garden, Seniors Council and others. In this way you can influence what happens at our community centre. You benefit from a program selection that is constantly being refreshed and from workshops and speakers that are free to members.
Direct participation by residents in the running of public recreation facilities is unusual in North America. It’s what makes our community centre truly a centre of activities for the residents of this community. The Society, through different committees of the Board of Directors and in cooperation with Centre staff, arranges for all the programs and other activities presented by the Centre; it purchases furniture and equipment; it prints and distributes the program brochure in print and on line; and from-time-to-time contributes to the physical upgrading of the facilities. Be a proud member of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society and continue to support our Society to ensure excellent programming chosen to meet the needs of our community. Consider joining a Board committee; you’ll learn about the community and make new friends.
The Kerrisdale Community Centre Society must generate all the revenue needed for the Centre’s programs and services. Program revenues pay for program instructors, equipment and supplies, overhead costs: e.g., purchasing, payroll and accounting, banking and credit card charges, front desk staff. The membership fees generate the revenue needed for some programs that the Board of Directors believe are important to the community, despite not being self-supporting; for renovations to the centre, to subsidize new programs during their introductory period, and to provide a contingency fund in case of unexpected drops in revenue. The Kerrisdale Community Centre is open longer hours than many other City community centres because the Society pays over $350,000 each year for the staff to operate the Centre.
For information about what your Board of Directors is doing, please check the Society bulletin board directly across from the front desk in the main lobby; it’s updated regularly so there’s usually something new.
What is our Society’s Relationship with the Park Board?
The current Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) between the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS) and the Vancouver Park Board was signed in 1979. Since the early 2000s, the Park Board and community centre associations in the city have attempted numerous times to find common ground to update the agreement. However, negotiations, including two multi-day sessions with the mediator, Vince Ready, have been unsuccessful.
Recap of Important Events over Past Years
• Park Board has made various attempts since 2010 to access funds belonging to the Associations and standardize programs being offered at all community centres. The community centres claim the Park Board’s actions were imposed without consultation, were violations of the JOA, and did not reflect the unique needs of each community. Some refused to capitulate.
• Park Board served notice in September 2013 to terminate the JOA, remove associations from the centres, and take over operations. A small group of associations, including the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS), won a court injunction prohibiting the Park Board from terminating the JOA or changing operations until a future court hearing.
• In August 2015 Park Board replaced the community centre program registration software with ActiveNet and used the change to divert association revenues. The small group ofAssociations filed yet another injunction because of Park Board’s violation of the previous court injunction.
• Recently, a Letter of Intent between Park Board and the small group of Associations was successfully negotiated and will form the basis of an agreement on ActiveNet implementation; when this agreement has been signed, our ActiveNet court injunction request will be dropped.
The Pending ActiveNet Agreement
This is being drafted by the lawyers and should be approved shortly. It formally restores and safeguards most past practices and makes ActiveNet terms acceptable to the small group. The development of this agreement demonstrates we can agree on substantive issues one small step at a time and opens the doors to renewed JOA talks.
New JOA Negotiations as of April 2016
The Chair of the Park Board has invited all Associations to participate with Commissioners and Staff on April 30 to reset the JOA negotiations with a neutral facilitator, hopefully to find resolution by November 2016. However, this latest approach to collaboration has Park Board using the familiar approach—Park Board has unilaterally chosen the facilitator, set the agenda, decided on the process, and set the time frame. Time will tell whether this round with the same old processes will succeed.
What will you do at KCC this summer?
Please look through the array of fantastic programs, events and services outlined in this brochure for summer 2016! You’re sure to find something that appeals to you and to other members of your family.
Kathleen Bigsby, President