JOA Update Fall 2018
It is my pleasure to provide this report to Society members and others in the greater Kerrisdale community. After more than seven years of very difficult discussion, consultation, and legal actions I can now report that the Society has finalized and signed the new operating agreement (the Joint Operating Agreement or JOA) with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board).
The final step in this process was to negotiate an acceptable settlement of an unprecedented Park Board invoice for staffing costs at the Centre dating back to 2011. Details of the Park Board invoice for staffing costs were discussed in the last President’s report (Summer 2018). The issue was settled for approximately one third of the amount that the Park Board was demanding. We are pleased with this settlement as it approximated no more than the amount the Society would have paid for staff costs had Park Board not taken unilateral steps in 2012 to shift labour costs from the Park Board to the Society.
As part of the final agreement both the Park Board and the Society signed a Mutual Release document that authorized lawyers on both sides to apply to the Court requesting termination of the court case. We truly hope that over time the somewhat strained relationship between the Society and the Park Board can return to its former cooperative and mutually supportive tone. In this regard, a new System Wide Planning process is being initiated by joint effort of the Park Board and those associations which have signed the JOA. Kerrisdale will work cooperatively with its partners to improve the community centre network.
It is heartening to know that following acceptance of the draft agreement by the Park Board in April 2017, and despite Park Board insistence that the agreement could not be modified, community centre associations have negotiated some significant clarifications (as recorded in Appendix C of the agreement) to deal with potentially negative interpretations of the core agreement. The appendices now function as an extension of the agreement since Park Board modified the JOA to give the Appendices equal status to the core document. Some of the main clarifications include the following:
- Automatic Society membership (unless the patron opts-out);
- Most disputes can now be arbitrated;
- Agreement effective for 10 years, with a five-year renewal, and a mandatory process for re-negotiation;
- Clarification of wording to eliminate conflict with the Societies Act and the Income Tax Act;
- Constraining Park Board staff ‘s ability to terminate the agreement with an association (it now requires a public vote to do so by the Park Board Commissioners);
- Mitigation of other issues surrounding breach, use of retained earnings, and Society affairs; and most importantly,
- Protection of our Seniors’ lunch program.
The Society will continue to operate the programs and services offered at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. However, access to programs and services is no longer restricted to members of the Society. The One Card will now be accepted at the Centre; however, if you use the One Card to access our fitness centre please be aware that you will be paying Park Board rates which are much higher that those offered if you purchase your fitness activity directly from the Society.
Robert Lockhart, President