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Community centre associations wrestle with changes park board is proposing. Park board: We need equity among centres. Centres: We serve our neighbourhoods best.

January 29th, 2013 · 250 Comments

Vancouver’s community centre associations are the closest thing to participatory democracy the city has. We don’t have the kind of neighbourhood independence that exists in Portland, which gives out grants to neighbourhoods to spend as they choose.

But, failing that, the centre associations have operated as the neighbourhood councils.

Now the park board is acting on a move set in motion by the COPE council of 2002-2005, which asked for a core review of services, and is re-negotiating the arrangement that’s existed between the board and the centres for several decades.

Some community centres are willing to negotiate, while pointing out to the board that it will lose if it undercuts local autonomy to the point where centres lose the enormous wealth of their volunteers and their ability to apply for federal and provincial grants for programs through their non-profit societies.

Other community centres are going to war. Two emergency meetings are being held tonight, with language used to advertise them that might make a casual observer think that the Charter of Rights had been overturned.

Here’s my story in the Globe, which only begins to get at the many aspects of this debate. (Which has been exacerbated, by the way, by some inept handling on the board’s side.)

Also including an open letter from the board chair and, below, the full text of my story.


Vancouver has had a unique system for running its parks for decades – one that has produced an unusually high level of community support and activism.

It has the only elected park board in the country. And its community centres have been operated through an uncommon setup where non-profit, volunteer community-centre associations raise their own money to pay for some of their own programs, alongside the ones paid for by the park board.

But a park-board move to change that relationship has created an uproar among some centre supporters and a burgeoning political problem for the ruling Vision Vancouver party, which is now accused of being undemocratic.

“Seniors lunches, exercise equipment and daily service at Vancouver community centres could all be axed” and “Do u want radical changes to happen to your community centre?

If not, JOIN OUR EMERGENCY MEETING” are just a couple of the dire messages from the stream coming out of the Kerrisdale Community Centre’s twitter account these days.

On the other side, the park board’s general manager and its ruling Vision trustees say the change is about creating more equity among the 24 centres, some of which don’t allow low-income holders of special passes to use their facilities.

A meeting set for Tuesday, organized by six of the associations, is about to bring that debate to a head.

“People are really getting mad,” said Ainslie Kwan, president of the Killarney community-centre association, which has over the years organized its own child-care programs that are supported by local efforts. “And the park people talk about equity in the city, but we feel each community knows best what it needs.”

Ms. Kwan said the associations, which put in thousands of hours of volunteer time that the board could never afford to pay for, will be relegated to becoming advisory committees. They can help raise money and offer advice on programs, but won’t be able to have the independence and authority they do now.

But park-board general manager Malcolm Bromley, who has been touring community centres for months to sell the new plan, said centre associations will still get to respond to community needs and run non-profit societies if they need to.

He said some community-centre associations have clearly been able to raise money in the way the park board never could. Raycam and Strathcona, near the Downtown Eastside, brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars for specialized programs for their low-income families.

Under the new arrangement, the board would have formal agreements with those non-profit societies so they can continue to raise that money and spend it on the programs they always have, he said.

Mr. Bromley said the main goal of a new arrangement is to allow centres that are not able to raise as much money to tap into the surpluses that some other centres now accumulate every year.

(He stipulated that the board would not ask for the approximately $10-million of surpluses those centres have accumulated in the past.)

And he wants to see a system where anyone can use any centre equally.

Ms. Kwan said the centres have already agreed to that, even though it means giving the whole city access to facilities, like the fitness centre at Killarney, for example, that the park board had declined to fund originally.

The six associations organizing the revolt are spread across the city – Killarney, Hastings, Marpole, Kerrisdale, Sunset and Hillcrest – and have received considerable media attention.

But many more associations, those who see good arguments on both sides, are deliberately staying out of the fray.

“We understand the park board needs more oversight at the centres, we think the arrangement needs to be rethought, but community stewardship is important. We also depend heavily on the not-for-profit operation we have here,” said Amanda Gibbs, president of the Strathcona community-centre association.


Categories: Uncategorized

250 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chris Porter // Jan 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    There’s also feedback being collected on PlaceSpeak:

    As a user of a few community centres, I could care less about the power struggles going on. I just want a consistent experience. It boggles my mind that each community centre is run independently, and some don’t accept the FlexPass. I know amalgamation and centralization comes with its own problems, but can you imagine each library branch or bus route being run independently?

    I was also surprised to hear each community centre had an elected board of representatives. Has anyone here ever attended a community centre board meeting or voted in their elections?

  • 2 IanS // Jan 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Interesting issue. There was an opinion piece in the Sun today about this, by a board member for the Kerrisdale Centre.

    I’m only going on what’s been in the newspaper, but my initial reaction is that the proposed changes seem kind of sweeping if the only goal is to assist in sharing surpluses. I wonder if there might be some less fundamental change to be made which would achieve that goal without the Parks Board effectively taking over.

    From the article, it sounds like there’s a real risk of eliminating, or discouraging, the feature of these community centres which encourages volunteer and community involvement.

    Also, is there any evidence of a significant disparity such that such a move is warranted, even if it’s only to ensure that surpluses are shared?

  • 3 A Dave // Jan 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    The Vancouver Minor Hockey Assoc. sent out a plea to members to oppose this latest move at tonight’s meeting:

    “…our association (the VMHA) receives administrative as well as financial support from the Killarney Community Centre Society.

    “For over 50 years, Killarney Community Centre has been operated by a locally elected, non-profit, volunteer society. These volunteers raise funds, choose programs and maintain the facilities based on the needs and wants of our community. City Hall plans to take away local control and use your community’s resources as they see fit across the city. For our association, the Community Center provides many services including bookkeeping, cheque writing and our very important grant application. If these changes go through, our administrative support could end, and potentially our costs could rise.

    “The Board of Directors of the Killarney Community Center seeks your support in opposing these changes.

    “We are asking all groups to email the Mayor and Council and tell them to keep control of your community centre with the local association. Let them know that the people in each neighborhood know how to serve each other better than the Park Board administration and City Hall.”

    The Parks Board has increased fees dramatically, including a new round of increases at community centres this year, cashed in on licensing arrangements, and yet we have seen deteriorating maintenance and accessibility, and a net loss of capacity (unnecessarily demolishing older rinks like Riley Park have made the situation even worse – an issue which also pitted the Vision Parks Board against groups like the VMHA).

    So it’s hard to buy the argument that Vision will improve anything in the long-term (least of all, the democratic use of local resources) by stripping local community groups of control.

  • 4 Bill Lee // Jan 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Membership isn’t expensive.
    Kerrisdale (gym, classes, pool) posts:
    Family (immediate family only)………………………$20
    Adult (19-64 years)…………………………………………$13
    Child (0-18 years)…………………………………………..$9
    Retired Citizens (65+ years)…………………………..$8
    “Centre membership is required for participation in any program.” [ more ]

    And one could join multiple centres relatively cheaply.

    But this is a cash grab of well-placed or clever community boards savings beyond their expenses.
    Note that libraries in the cramped Kerrisdale centre are as free as other branches.

  • 5 Bill Lee // Jan 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    @Chris Porter #1
    …”I know amalgamation and centralization comes with its own problems, but can you imagine each library branch or bus route being run independently?”

    Ask Mme Bula about the late Fraser-Hickson Library (1885-), Westmount, Outremont, Atwater and Hampstead libraries. (All in the City of Montreal)

  • 6 Lesli Boldt // Jan 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    As I mentioned on NW this morning, this isn’t just about surpluses and what to do with them – it’s about access.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m a frequent Park Board facilities user. I have three cards for Park Board – one for Hillcrest, one for False Creek and one for Kitsilano – because they each have different societies with different memberships and different pricing for the same services (e.g. swimming, skating, fitness centres).

    My Kits tickets work at Lord Byng Pool, but not at Hillcrest, where it’s more expensive to swim than it is at Byng. I’m lucky I have the income to be able to afford memberships at each community centre/facility, but many residents don’t have the same luxury. Furthermore, Leisure Access Cards (LACs) aren’t honoured at all community centres – creating have- and have-not users.

    It’s also true that most community centres agree that there’s some equity challenges that need to be worked out, which is great and will form the foundation for resolving some of these issues.

    Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma does an excellent job of outlining the goals of the proposed plan on CBCTV – have a look:

    For what it’s worth.

  • 7 brilliant // Jan 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Typical Vision power grab which will no doubt lead to fewer volunteers and more taxpayer funded positions. How much dud CUPE donate to Vision?

  • 8 gman // Jan 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    So here we have communities doing exactly the right things,getting involved,volunteering their time,raising funds,creating programs,saving the city money and basically looking out for their residents.And what was their big mistake……they were too successful,they had a little money left over for a rainy day,they were in the black.
    Well if it aint broke Vision will fix it.But don’t worry folks their just going to redistribute the success…..way to go.
    Why would anybody want to volunteer again in a climate like this where your success is your demise.

  • 9 gman // Jan 29, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Lesli Bolt #6
    You said you have to have three cards in order for you to swim,skate and use fitness facilities.Then you go on to say your lucky you can afford to do this.Well Lesli if you pay these fees as an adult for these three cards it would cost $39 that’s less than 11 cents a day.I would think that even the poorest of the poor if so motivated could afford to do so.And more importantly perhaps the reason for these low rates is due to community input and not the cities input.

  • 10 gman // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    ” And he wants to see a system where anyone can use any centre equally.”

    “Ms. Kwan said the centres have already agreed to that, even though it means giving the whole city access to facilities, like the fitness centre at Killarney, for example, that the park board had declined to fund originally.”
    I take from this statement that they have already agreed to an integration of facilities.And I think you will find that most people don’t travel outside their neighborhood as you do but are more interested in daycare or seniors activities or other things that directly affect their lives.

  • 11 Glissando Remmy // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Thought of The Night

    “Whatever Vision Vancouver commissars cannot inherit, fake, or make up… they grab!”

    If you were an immigrant from a former Eastern European communist country, you would probably be having goosebumps all over your body, after you’re done reading the ‘newest’ proposal coming from the High Comissariat de Vancouver.
    Tovarisch Ballemski , under the stellar leadership of our Tovarisch Robertsonovitch, have instructed Toavarisch Bromleychkov to catch the Park Board Pig and bring home the bacon.
    Oh, and the word on the street is… take no prisoners.

    Does it feel like a cash grab?
    Does it feel like another attempt to kill the existing democratic process only to replace it with a tyrannical centralized autocracy?
    Does it feel like another LOL in your face community consultation turned bad, trampled over, only to be told that the City will address any concerns one may have, at the neighborhood level through the ‘newly appointed’ Vision Second Grade Sergeants aka Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force?
    You bet, you bet, you bet!

    Ma-Nure shoveled from the 3rd floor offices for the past 4 years.
    (BTW, 5 years usually make a really good Plan! The connoisseurs would fondly remember the Plan under its more popular name… Pyatiletka!)
    Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness… Useless.
    Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability… Exercise in Futility.
    Now is the Task Force on Togetherness time… aka Mayor’s Citizens Engaged City Task Force. Who has got my Gravol, LOL!?
    An effing Cult of Personality in the making.

    Where am I? How long have I been asleep? What year is it?
    It’s like waking up in the year 1979 in Moscow. Your name is Ivan Prisypkin and you’ve been frozen for fifty years in a Vladimir Mayakovsky novel!
    It’s a world you don’t understand. A world of Bourgeoisius Vulgaris and Vision Bedbugus Normalis. The Vision Bedbugs Normalis and the Bourgeoisius Vulgaris differ in size, but are identical in nature. Both have their habitat in the musty mattresses of time. The V Bedbug, having gorged itself on the body of a single human, falls under the bed. The Bourgeoisius Vulgaris, having gorged itself on the body of all mankind, falls onto the bed. That’s the only difference. And you are caught in the middle.
    You see only one solution for this. One word… Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane aka DDT.

    There is hope after all.
    Bring filter mask.
    I’ll bring Spray Bottle, DDT.
    Till then though…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.


    Lesli Boldt #6
    Aren’t you the scream?
    You know, you’re trying too hard to “communicate” the “Vision”. Stop!
    Better listen carefully to Nat …

    and stop … Quizas, Quizas, Quizas

  • 12 waltyss // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    The NPA troll is back!
    And it looks like the detox didn’t work. And we are regaled with another hash induced narcoleptic vision.

  • 13 Bill McCreery // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    This proposition is another step not just to neuter the Community Centre Associations, but the Park Board as well. Ms Ballem has stated that the Pk Bd General Manager reports to her not the Park Board. If both the Pk Bd and CCAs do not control programming, policy, etc. and have limited ability to raise money and get matching grants such advisory boards cannot make meaningful decisions.

    Vancouver does not have a ward system, but we do (did?) have an independent elected Pk Bd and community based CCAs as well as strong community organizations across all neighbourhoods in the City. Vision Vancouver is systematically proceeding to decimate these vital organizations. The City’s CCA Joint Operating Agreement proposal is a top down, centralist power and money grab pure and simple.

  • 14 waltyss // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Leslie Boldt@ #6
    Okay, you tell us that Nicki Sharma is a good explanation and I listened to it. I also heard you on Bill Good this morning. I still do not understand what the issue is. Most if not all of the community centres have agreed to system wide access, so that is a non issue but I suspect that is what Vision is using and will continue to use as a fig leaf for a pretty nakedly blasant cash gras.
    The inevitable result will be fewer volunteers. If I am volunteering in Dunbar where I live and surpluses are going over to somewhere else where they do not have enough volunteers or people contrbuting, why am I going to continue to volunteer. I am not
    The réal problem (no community wide access is solved. The rest is a misguided attempt to steal the money raised by the people who do the work. The east side community centres have been helped when the rest of the city raised money for them. However this is not what is being proposed: it is to take away money raised by volunteers for their own community centres. All in the name of a misplaced “equity”.
    Sharma says they support volunteers. No they do not; they are driving them away with this boneheaded move.

  • 15 karen // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    We DO need equity at community centres. Right now there are unbelievably cheap rates for using facilities at some westside centres, but a lack of funds to run programs in poorer communities on the East side. Is this through mismanagement? Or is it because some communities are POOR and are working too many jobs to volunteer. These are important conversations.

    However, the flip side of this is the track record of city hall and parks board to accountability and honest and open operations. I wouldn’t trust them with my coat, nevermind my children and grandchildren’s future.

  • 16 Glissando Remmy // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Waltyss #12

    “Well, ain’t that nice?”

  • 17 Megan // Jan 30, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I think a key piece of information that has been left of this discussion that I have noted thus far is that – as far as I understand – the Vancouver Parks Board actually largely pays for the operating costs of many if not all of the community centres – including not only the actual maintenance/utility/etc. costs, but also the maintenance and programming staff – which as most of you can imagine, is no small amount by any means. With that in mind, I don’t blame the Parks Board at all in its attempts to recoup some costs.

    Furthermore, as a user of multiple community centres I can attest to the frustration and confusion that not only myself but other patrons I have spoken to experience when trying to understand each community centre’s systems for membership, payment, etc. Not to mention that the Leisure Access Card, which allows families and individuals with low income to access fitness/pool facilities at no/reduced cost, are not accepted universally at all centres and therefore it does not truly guarantee “universal” or equal access. Quality control and ensuring consistent practices and systems is something that our civic recreation system – Parks Board AND centre associations included – should strive for, and I think we can all agree that on a city-wide basis the system in place is certainly in need of work, so why not negotiate and try to figure out something better?

    While I do view some of the concerns of these associations valid, to be frank it leaves a bad taste in my mouth – most of it seems like whining about change rather than productive discussion on how centre associations and the Parks Board can move forward together.

  • 18 rf // Jan 30, 2013 at 7:45 am

    My mother was a local community association board president in the 80’s.
    The fundraising and volunteer work was essential in being able to build a major expansion to the community centre. Those local boards are the unsung heroes of the community centres. They work closely with community centre staff to make programming more nimble to what the community wants. Can you imagine the bureaucracy if community centres are allocated funds based on what Vision thinks they need. And if the community doesn’t want the money will it just get wasted because everyone will be afraid if you don’t use it you will lose it? If you strip out the local association’s ability to accumulate and build future surpluses and allocate funds you are going to strip away a local neighborhood’s ability to invest directly in their own facility and in their own neighborhood.

    This proposal would take away the incentive for local community associations to raise funds for needs that they have identified locally. Their volunteer work could be left to the whims of Blyth, Sharma et. al hipster social engineers to step in and redirect other’s efforts to their own political whims.

    I find it ironic that Gregor likes to whine to the provincial and federal governments for more control of revenue raised locally and demand more funds for projects he believes are important locally. Vision despises how the feds and provincially government get to decide where certain funding goes.

    But when it’s a local community association….they wants the control. It’s Vision hypocrisy at it’s best.

    The only thing I like about Vision’s proposal is that’s the type of issue that will help turn the tide against them.

  • 19 brilliant // Jan 30, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Sweet merciful heavens, waltyss just criticized something Vision did! I’m having to rethink my entire world view. Nonetheless, I am happy that people from all political persuasions see Vision’s actions for what they are.

  • 20 Norman // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:15 am

    You would think that local democratically run organizations would appeal to our socialist overlords, but no, not when there’s money involved. A local Commissar is what you really need; you just didn’t know it. Central planning, one size fits all policies are good for every neighbourhood that dares poke its head above any other, with exceptions for the DTES, of course. Comrades of Vision, this is what killed Communism in Eastern Europe.

  • 21 Rick // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

    It seems very odd to me that this City government seems to be hell-bent on ‘fixing’ the things that are working, while blissfully ignoring the things that are not.

  • 22 Bill Lee // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

    When Mayor Tim announces the city goes to a 16 Ward system, this will be solved.

    Niki Sharma is doing her Vision image no good.

  • 23 Raingurl // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I’m still a little confused. Wasn’t this whole issue started because some community centres wouldn’t allow lower income people to use the facilities? I may be wrong but isn’t this a CITY? Isn’t every facility suppose to allow every citizen in? I’m actually tired of the elitism going on around here. It didn’t help getting a tv show like “Desperate” Housewives of Vancouver.

    (I can’t get “Revolution” out of my head. :)

  • 24 Ned // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Thanks Glissy for that authentic close up look at the “leaders” of Vancouver. What a treat.
    As for the Wuss follow up comment, yes, I didn’t see that coming (rolling eyes). But as long as it is on an approved Vision Vancouver preferred blogs list… deh.

  • 25 Iride // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Community centres aren’t exactly islands unto themselves.

    First, you do not have to buy a new membership at each and every community centre in the city. Many of them have reciprocal agreements where a membership at one centre is accepted at another. Same for things like fitness season’s passes – when one centre is under renovation, other nearby centres will honour the passes. If that is the real issue, the centres can deal with that. The issue is money, and who is foolish enough to think that the centres run only on money? They run on volunteer hours as much as anything, and if community members don’t feel they have ownership of their own centres, that will disappear.

  • 26 Morven // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:54 am

    If the Parks Board Commissioners were doing their job, they would have commissioned an independent report that set out the options, costs, risks and benefits, and recommendations for a renewed community centre policy.

    They would then have taken this to a public hearing and after that, made a decision based on transparency and accountability.

    Alas, there seems to be a culture of lack of transparency in the City administration that makes the same Commissioners appear to be arbitrary and partisan. They do in theory act in the public interest.

  • 27 Ned // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Raingurl 22,
    Yes no wonder you are confused, no pun intended. That’s what Vision Vancouver, Robertson and all the Vancouver Park Board under Vision control are counting on.
    For you to get confused over a non existing issue.
    No Community center turned anyone down over fees or “membership” Complete BS!
    Plus all the community centers are working together to align all their services and fee based programs with each other.
    Vision doesn’t like that. They want to control the money, how much and where it’s going. That’s called one step closer to centralized planning…
    Read Glissy’s post at 11, he’s a genius with words, I hope you’ll get his irony. then read Norman’s 19. People are waking up you know. Hope they will not forget, come 2014!

  • 28 Bill // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

    This is right out of the Progressive playbook. Need money? See who has it and redistribute it in the name of equality. It doesn’t matter if we all have less as long as we have the same because that is fair. Volunteers stop volunteering? No problem. These should have been good paying union jobs in the first place.

  • 29 boohoo // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Well, at least you guys aren’t over-reacting.

  • 30 Sean Nelson // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I’m in 100% agreement on the consistency issue. Varying rates and a patchwork of benefits is a barrier to use and the main reason I’ve never bought a membership.

    What I’d like to see is a city-wide pass which allows access to a set of standard facilities (pool, gym, rink, etc.). If the community centre associations want to provide value-added services, let them apply their fund-raising abilities to services outside the common facilities.

    For example, the Dogwood Senior’s centre in Coquitlam has billiards, woodworking, and lapidary facilities, among others. Why can’t the community centre associations provide those kind of amenities?

  • 31 Kenji // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

    As a fairly recent purchaser of a Flexipass, I was mostly interested to see the gym options that I had.

    The discussion of equal access in this thread has just made me check out the city webpage – turns out that Flexipass owners are honoured at 15 centres, whereas the low-income Leisure Access Pass is honoured at 21! (I’m not complaining, it is just interesting to me.)

    Anyway, what this discussion lacks is an argument from Bromley, I guess, as to why community associations should part with their surpluses. What’s in it for them? If they are raising ‘extra’ money that isn’t staying in their area, what’s the incentive to raise it?

    It’s not like revenue sharing in the NHL, where the rich teams support weak markets because that keeps the league itself strong, with implications for franchise values and broadcasting footprint.

    This is more like stealing flowers out of someone’s nice garden to give to people who don’t have nice gardens.

  • 32 Bill Lee // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:51 am

    @Sean Nelson
    Hastings CC has shows (Hastings Centre Rockhounds, March 16 & 17, 2013 ) every year, and also a faceter’s club
    Dunbar CC has a lapidary club.
    See the La federation Canadienne des gemmes et des minéraux

    Billiards! We can’t have that. Soon they will be playing Pool. And you know where that leads to!

    Right here in River City.
    Trouble with a capital “T”
    And that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool!”

  • 33 Bill Lee // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Speaking of Bromley, what is the experience of Toronto, from whence he came?

    Same division of local jurisdiction there? Or it never came up? Or the Toronto ward system settled it along with no fershlinger Park Board?

  • 34 IanS // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

    “What I’d like to see is a city-wide pass which allows access to a set of standard facilities (pool, gym, rink, etc.). If the community centre associations want to provide value-added services, let them apply their fund-raising abilities to services outside the common facilities.”

    Is that what’s being proposed?

  • 35 spartikus // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

    turns out that Flexipass owners are honoured at 15 centres, whereas the low-income Leisure Access Pass is honoured at 21!

    The LAC simply allows you to buy a Flexipass at 50% of cost, it doesn’t give you the same benefits of one.

  • 36 Terry M // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I kinda agree with all posts, less one or two… The Vision Vancouver attack dogs ones. You know who they are! :-)

  • 37 Dave Pasin // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:54 am

    For those that are interested in what is actually going on and the issues at hand I have posted the Community Centre Proposal in this note.

    If I may siggest perhaps ALL the Commissioners should read our proposal before commenting so they may be properly informed as to what is being discussed and the issues at hand.

    This is not about access, it is about local control of programming that reflects the needs of the Community and the funds needed to take care of programs, equipment and needs of that community.

    I can state categorically that NO ONE has ever been turned away from our centre due to fincancial need. Anyone who want to take a program or wants access to our facility is welcome if they ask.

    Denial of services is a red herring. This is about $ and central control and decision making vs community based programming that reflects the needs of its residents.

    let the bomb throwing begin… please see the Community Centre propsoal that I helped draft to be submitted to the Park Board.

    Enjoy the read.

    Renewing the Partnership:
    A Collaborative Approach

    Community Centres in Vancouver have operated under the current model since 1979. This current model, an operating partnership between Community Centre Associations and the Park Board, allows for local community members to determine the use and focus of these important neighbourhood assets. History and experience have clearly shown that the collaborative model for leading, governing, managing, and operating community centres in Vancouver works. In June 2012, the Associations initiated the process to bring this partnership approach into the 21st century through a roundtable discussion process between Association representatives, the Park Board and the City of Vancouver.

    The Park Board commissioners adopted four operating principles: equity among community centres, access to the network of community centres, access for all citizens, and operational sustainability and accountability. The Associations incorporated these four principles into a framework document that was presented to the Park Board and the City of Vancouver at these roundtable discussions.

    The Community Centre Associations are committed to negotiating with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to identify and collectively implement constructive changes to the current model, aimed at achieving the common vision and principles. This document summarizes the Associations’ position in regards to the Park Board’s proposed operating model outlined in “Moving Forward: A New Service Delivery Model for Community Centres”.

    The Community Centre Associations propose an immediate, short (three month) externally facilitated process to negotiate a common agreement and a common set of principles and policies.

    Community Centre Association Proposal

    All associations will accept Leisure Access Cards at Association operated fitness centres, starting February 2012, concurrent with JOA negotiations. We reiterate our request that a full review of policy, procedures, and best practices be undertaken to ensure the intended demographic is served.

    Further to this immediate action, the negotiations would focus on:

    1) All associations agree that memberships purchased at any community centre will be honoured across the network of community centres.

    2) The overall vision and goals for all community centres and their programs related to healthy living and the quality of life of local residents.

    3) Joint processes for annually evaluating progress towards achieving this vision and these goals, and for evaluating the performance of local community centres.

    4) Associations agree to the implementation of core programming, with a mutual understanding of what constitutes a core program. The standards, expectations, and fees for such core programs will be based on best practices for their development, financing, and management.

    5) Evaluating and standardizing subsidies for vulnerable residents so they can fairly access community centre programs.

    6) Associations to work closely with the Park Board to strengthen and standardize policies and procedures to ensure mitigation of risk.

    7) Formal relationship to be clarified between Associations and Park Board. This would include: respective roles and responsibilities,communication and reporting protocols, conflict resolution processes, and collaborative strategic planning.

    8) A set of common organizational standards and expectations required for all Associations will be clearly defined. Associations will share and adhere to these best practices.

    9) A joint process for identifying policy deficiencies regarding the operation of community centres.

    10) The Associations will accept Park Board issued FlexiPasses at Association operated Fitness Centres, provided a fair bill-back policy is negotiated, as was proposed by Park Board in earlier Roundtable discussions.

    11) Associations operating licensed preschools and childcare programs will continue to be responsible for meeting licensing requirements and for the revenues and expenses. Best practices will be shared and adhered to.

    12) The Associations in collaboration with the Park Board, will pursue cost sharing models to ensure equity and fiscal sustainability.

    The above proposal addresses the key principles that were identified by all parties.

  • 38 Terry M // Jan 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks David @35
    We knew that!
    That’s why Cope Vancouver got obliterated last municipal election. Because it climbed in bed with Vision Vancouver without profilactics. When you read that Penny ballet wants to negotiate you want throw a little inside your mouth. Enough with this gang!

  • 39 gman // Jan 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    We should just go down to city hall and change the locks on them.And shut the power off to Greg-gores elevator.

  • 40 Dan Cooper // Jan 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I’ve been struggling with this issue in my mind for some time, because equal access resonates strongly with me. However, I have ended up coming down on the other side for several reasons: 1) One side here seems willing to negotiate and find an accomodation to address the other side’s putative underlying concerns, while that other side is simply dictating (perhaps holding “public hearings” to let people vent, but with no apparent intent to consider actually changing their previously declared plans in a meaningful way). 2) If the city tells all the local volunteers who have done so much to go jump in a lake (openly or in effect) then many of them will likely do so. This will be a great loss. 3) Reading the list of objecting centre boards, this is clearly not an issue of “rich” vs.”poor” areas of the city supporting different positions. 4) On the other hand, holding up Raycam and Strathcona as examples of how other areas could fundraise is a red herring. Those two centres, rightly, pull in lots of funding due from various sources to address issues of poverty and inequity. I doubt – say – Douglas Park could (or should) do the same. 5) There is something to be said for local decision-making. Not every centre should – much less can – be the same. There is a reason False Creek has lots of programs and things like kayaking, while Hillcrest has a big swimming pool, and Killarney and Britannia have ice rinks…

  • 41 brent granby // Jan 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    A report from Red Fox on which community Centres accept Leisure Access passes:

  • 42 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    “I can state categorically that NO ONE has ever been turned away from our centre due to fincancial need.”

    That’s a good thing. But I do think it’s important to recognize as well that income generally equals self-respect in our society. Many people will forego services and/or subsidies, esp. if it means having to ask for it in a public fashion. It can be very hard for people to swallow their pride and ask for help that might be seen as a ‘hand-out’. Even more so, if one might have the appearance of economic comfort, but in reality be struggling to make ends meet for whatever reason. That situation can lead to some harsh, erroneous judgements about people ‘taking advantage’ of the system. For some, it’s just easier to avoid the scenario altogether, even it it means missing out on activities or exercise.

    Also (dons flame-retardant suit) if the idea that some of your volunteer time might end up benefiting people who don’t live in your neighbourhood is objectionable (assuming there’s no impact on your partic. comm centre) that strikes me as missing the point somewhat.

  • 43 Silly Season // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    @Dave Pasin # 35

    ‘Denial of services is a red herring. This is about $ and central control and decision making vs community based programming that reflects the needs of its residents’.


    As Pasin points out, cc’s don’t turn people away. I also appreciate that the cc asssociations are trying to work together (and with a hopelessly neutered Park Board!!) in solving any outstanding issues as per the framework mentioned above.

    Many cc facilities, some crumbling, hang in there, waiting patiently for their (apparently highly ‘political’) turn for rejuvenation. Meanwhile, they figure out how to run efficiently, they fundraise, they rep the neighbourhoods and they volunteer. Hmmm. Sounds like an absolutely ‘revolutionary’ idea to me.

    Yes, these community centre associations apparently represent the last outpost of organized resistance to a city admin seemingly hell bent on influencing and controlling every institution and public space in the city. (Couldn’t mean they want to add more civic jobs, too—at taxpayer cost, eh?) Very, very dangerous, these citizen types. I will be buying my mom her own Che guevara t-shirt, soon.

    As for the facilities themselves, I would be interested in some comparative analysis about relationship between age of facility, outstanding debt, operating costs, usage numbers, and fundraising efforts. For instance, I suspect that newer facilities might be more expensive to run than some of our ‘dowager’ community centres, yes? But then, all cc’s were ‘new’ at some point, yes?

    People like myself and @Leslie Boldt, should be more than willing to pay a little extra to access those centres with all the newest bells and whistles, yes? I know I do, when I want to use the Hillcrest Pool versus the Kerrisdale pool, for instance. Trust me, there is no ‘equal access’ when it comes to comparing those facilities. So, where’s the infrastructure dough to re-build Kerrisdale Community Centre. *Sound of crickets*.

    I would also like to salute all community centre associations and their volunteers all over the city who give so unstintingly to their neighbourhoods. Awesome doesn’t begin to describe the upaid hours you put in, and your fierce community spirit.

    Someone earlier on the thread asked about the Toronto experience with community/leisure centres. From what I know–and have only anecdotally heard from friends who live there—what we have here , and how we operate our facilities is completely unique. And they mean that in the most complimentary sense of the terms.

    In closing, one last quote, from my old friend @George Bailey. Of course, he was talking to that infamous scalliwag and control freak, Mr. Potter.

    But he could have just as likely been talking to our very own City Hall when he said this:

    “I know very well what you’re talking about. It’s about something you can’t get your fingers on–and it’s galling you’.

  • 44 Silly Season // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    @Chris Keam #40

    At the other end of the spectrum are people that CAN afford many things but DEMAND subsidies.

    I am as big a fan of universality as much as the next person. But I am beginning to think that something has gotta give…and soon.

  • 45 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Also, if enrolling in a program away from your neighbourhood means taking transit, it’s essentially adding $5.50 to the cost, plus whatever value one places on their (travel) time. That adds up pretty fast if you’re in that category of human we refer to as the ‘working poor’

  • 46 Stanley Myercoff // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I agree with Morven (#24), in that it appears the Parks Board has made an internal decision and is now just delivering it. There is no evidence of analysis, no transparency. Hard costs as well as soft impacts, such as potential decimating effects to volunteerism, which is increasingly a significant part of our economy and society. There may be a good defensible case to be made, but the Board has not demonstrated that by any professional approach.

    There already is a significant transfer of millions of dollars in the name of equity distribution through property taxes and capital spending. It is critical that the Board/City reveal the entire funding system before considering drastically changing one component, which could have dire effects in coming years.

    Another aspect overlooked by the Board is values. Different values, that lead to different choices. Some n’hoods have residents that place more value on certain activities and events; more money and more volunteer time. If you live in (or move to) that n’hood because of that, it is destructive to take those resources and put them in a ‘hood where they are less valued. In that sense, the Board’s initiative is an attack on n’hood individuality, and diversity.

  • 47 Dave Pasin // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    @CK #40
    I and all of the volunteers I know do it because we enjoy participating in the Community. It’s not about us vs them or who or what area benefit.. we all do!

    I have NEVER heard a discussion about pitting one neighbourhood against another or decreasing volunteering because it may benefit someone from outside the community. That is a moot point

    While I agree there may be a stigma due to financial circumstances, I know at our Centre (WECC) such cases are handled with extreme sensitivity, care and discretion.

    I know some Vision people have cited an incident at Hastings involving a young aborginal person that was “turned away” and they cite the fact that the LAC card was not accepeted there.

    In fact, that may have been an issue with a Centre individual not knowing how to handle such a request with sensitivity, aplomb, discretion and/or grace to allow access (if it actually happened.) I know the folks there and I can assure you that like most Centres would have allowed the individual access to whaever they would have wanted to participate in.

    We do need to fix these kinds of issues to ensure everyone has access and they are addressed in the proposal as I posted above.

    Fixing issues such as access doesn’t mean needing to burn down the house to repair a roof.

  • 48 Raymond Tomlin // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    As one of the speakers at the Kerrisdale Community Centre meeting told those assembled to hear both sides of the argument respecting the renegotiation of the community centres’ Joint Operating Agreement / reorganization of the administrative structure of Vancouver’s community centre associations, “this is a Vancouver City Hall staff dominated, staff driven process where all Vancouver Park Board decision-making and power would reside in the office of Dr. Penny Ballem, Vancouver’s City Manager.”

    Our community centre associations act, in effect and in practice, as our duly-elected neighbourhood councils, representing the interests of residents in each of Vancouver’s 21 neighbourhoods. The CCAs represent grassroots democracy at its best. Yet our Vision Vancouver dominated City Council and Park Board would wrest control from neighbourhoods and centralize decision-making out of the City Manager’s office.

    The proposal of the Vision Vancouver dominated Park Board and Council was defined by many as a blatant cash grab by the City – which it is. What would the net effect of this ‘cash grab’ mean for the residents of Vancouver? As explained by the many speakers at the Kerrisdale meeting, at a minimum: a loss of planning authority at community centres to respond to the needs of their members, across the board fee hikes for seniors and youth programmes, more cuts to both operating and staff hours (Park Board has already cut 900 hours), and transfer of equipment from the more successful, better run CCAs to the ‘poorer’ CCAs. In addition, individual CCA Boards could no longer apply for / access the tens of thousands of dollars of annual provincial and federal grants that are now available to subsidize their operation – the City is not eligible for these grants, which are only available to CCAs; hardly fiscally responsible decision-making on the part of the City, and City decision-making that ill-represents the interests of residents across Vancouver.

    In respect of the equity issue, none of the Boards of the 21 CCAs have suggested that they are opposed to equal access to ALL Vancouver residents – both Flexipass and Leisure Card access would be honoured at ALL of our community centre associations going forward.

    In response to the statement by Vancouver Park Board General Manager Malcolm Bromley that our current CCA model is “broken”, former TEAM city councillor Dr. Setty Pendakur told those assembled at the Kerrisdale Community Centre Tuesday evening, “In fact, the CCA model is working just fine for most associations. The functioning CCAs have offered their assistance to those CCAs that need our help (e.g. grant applications). City Hall wants to fix a model they say is broken. The model is not broken. If one light bulb in our home burns out, we do not replace every bulb in the house.”

  • 49 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    @Silly Season:

    Sure, but is that a factor in this decision? I don’t know. I’m loathe to comment on the issue at hand, not having really read up on the topic. My comment is just a reminder that availability doesn’t necessarily mean uptake, esp. if there’s a social stigma involved, or someone from a particular milieu must endure the stares of the ‘regulars’ because they clearly aren’t a local from the same socio-economic strata. More data regarding Mr Pasin’s remarks would be helpful. How many people are taking advantage of the ‘no one turned away’ ethos? Is it well-known? It certainly never occurred to me in my starving freelancer days that I could access community centre programs without paying full price.

  • 50 Kenji // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    @40 Chris, you refer to “the idea that some of your volunteer time might end up benefiting people who don’t live in your neighbourhood [being] objectionable…” as missing the point.

    Whereas I think it is the very point.

    I think it is entirely normal and natural for community volunteers from a certain area to expect that their efforts and dollars are being raised for the community of that certain area.

    For the guvmint to come along and SNATCH THEIR FAT STACK O’ BILLS to give it to some less-fortunates strikes me as an excellent way to discourage said community volunteers from exerting themselves in the future.

    Now, giving to the less fortunate is very nice, shortens waiting time in purgatory and so on, but if it’s not a gift, a voluntary donation, then that’s not cool. The government can only be Nottingham here, not Robin Hood.

    Or did I miss your point in order to get in a quick riposte…?

  • 51 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    @Dave Pasin:

    Kenji is articulating the very p.o.v. I am talking about, as is the first post on a CTV article on the topic:

    “Not many people are going to volunteer to help in their local COMMUNITY centre if they find out that all those efforts are being shipped of to another community.One which does nothing for itself,and would rather live off of someone else’s earnings.”

    So, while I am 100% sure you are speaking honestly of your own perspective (and one I like to think I share) it’s pretty clear that there is a solid contingent of people who feel that charity begins, and should stay, at home.


  • 52 IanS // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    “…it’s pretty clear that there is a solid contingent of people who feel that charity begins, and should stay, at home.”

    Well, then, viewed in that light, I suppose that one unanticipated benefit of the proposed changes is that they will get rid of all those people who are volunteering their time, and donating their money, for the wrong reasons.

  • 53 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    CTV story link for reference:

  • 54 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm


    So few volunteers in the world as it is, I’m not sure we can afford to cull those who do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

  • 55 Kenji // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm


    Just so we’re clear, I am happy to pay taxes and for the government to distribute them for programming to different corners of this country.

    However, when I think of Col. Redwineandcats (Mrs.) buying her ticket for the hand-knitted tea cozy 50/50 draw at the Kerrisdale Community Centre, I’m fair sure she was doing it for her peeps, not for me in Hipster Central. Why would she expect anything different? And back to my questions, what’s in it for her to give their ‘surplus’ away?

  • 56 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    “what’s in it for her to give their ‘surplus’ away?”

    My understanding of volunteer work or donations to charitable causes is that one doesn’t do it on a quid pro quo basis.

    But to be blunt, the kid that’s in a comm. centre program is a kid that’s not raising hell elsewhere.

    To move from the sublime to the realistic, to turn a child away from a life of poor choices with some well-timed support and encouragement is to reap a benefit worth (in strictly dollars and cents terms) many times over the initial outlay.

  • 57 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm


    BTW, I understand you are playing the devil’s advocate, rather than expressing a view you hold.

  • 58 spartikus // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I have no dog in this fight. It seems, once again, all the players agree on the overall goal and just a relatively minor disagreement in the grand scheme of things on how to get there. What’s the best way? Don’t know, but watching the discussion on Twitter on this it strikes me if everyone sat down round a table and put their election campaigning aside, an acceptable agreement could be hammered out in a few hours.

    However, I will say the optics of this are terrible. If you are going to spend $200k + on a media campaign to keep your FAT STACK O’ BILLS from being applied to less fortunates, what I think most people will take away from that is your FAT STACK O’ BILLS is TOO FAT.

  • 59 Dave Pasin // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    @Spartikus #54

    Please let me know where this “fat stack ‘o’ bills” is hiding as I know everyone would love to spend it to ensure more programs, equal access, unicorns, blue sky (heck with the rain), and popcorn for everybody! LOL and for those that think that may not be enough, perhaps a nice economical, green, hybrid Chevy for all (with help from Oprah of course)

    In all seriousness, this is about ensuring access and protecting programming that is required in all communities across the City.

    That’s the bottom line, as it should be.

  • 60 Kenji // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm


    Erm…you are trying to be nice…but no, I actually feel there is a principle here, which is, as I understand it, these folks from the ‘have’ community associations were doing so believing that they were giving to their community associations, not someone else’s.

    For those funds to now go elsewhere violates that understanding, which is not as legally verboten as breaking a legal contract but sure as heck has fired ‘em up all the same.

    I’m all for the good burghers of Richpeoplesville to raise funds for their own associations and citywide investment, if that’s the deal. Coming along after the fact and changing the deal is obviously going to raise hackles.

    Perhaps smarter heads have already figured it out but the messaging from the Board to the local ass’ns should be: we are not touching the money you raised for fiscal 2012. But next year’s funds, we might take any extra cash you have, just so you know.

    Well, not in those words. In words that will not cause a riot (I ain’t no diplomat).

    They should say, every dollar sent to Poorpersonville prevents someone like THIS from being angry with old timers (insert horrifying picture of Zack Kassian smiling).

    @Spartikus: yes, and that’s why it was immediately leaked that the associations were considering various expensive media campaign packages, to make them look like they have money to burn.

    And maybe they do, yeah? For all I know, because I don’t like in Richpersonville, their community fundraising was so that they could having their shuffleboard set replated from 14k gold to 18k gold.

    But, if that’s what they wanted to do with their money, then that’s what they wanted to do. I don’t think we can be upset with them. (If I understand ‘them.’)

  • 61 Bill Lee // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Interesting to note that the establishment Global TV (Channel 8) and The Vancouver Sun (without Kevin Bent) chose to cover only the Kerrisdale meeting.
    To which at least 2 (interviewed on air) and maybe 3 (Constance Barnes as one of the faces in a crowd?) park board (Parks? Board) commissioners were present including the odious Niki Sharma.

    While the people’s network, the CBC, sent one videographer (radio, TV, later to be doublés en français) to the Killarney CC where Park Board Commissioner Trevor Loke, 22, lost his temper. Maybe his recent hockey experiences erased his earlier Boy Scout calm.

    Such a telling Fourth Estate focus.

  • 62 spartikus // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Please let me know where this “fat stack ‘o’ bills” is hiding as I know everyone would love to spend it to ensure more programs, equal access, unicorns, blue sky (heck with the rain), and popcorn for everybody!

    I know where you can find $$277,000.

    But, if that’s what they wanted to do with their money, then that’s what they wanted to do.
    Then they should start a private club, like the Arbutus Club.

    However, these are civic, not private, facilities.

  • 63 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    “we are not touching the money you raised for fiscal 2012.”

    To reiterate, I haven’t had time to read up on the issue, but my understanding is the comm. ctrs get to keep existing surpluses (surpli? :-) and this new arrangement is for future monies.

    Spartikus nails it by pointing out that there’s probably a consensus that can be achieved. Let the tide go in and out a few times. Maybe it will erase these lines in the sand that appear to be drawn and a workable solution might get hammered out.

  • 64 Dan Cooper // Jan 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I continue to be confused by the trope that this is rich people/rich areas vs. poor people/poor areas. Let’s examine that list of centres again: Killarney, Hastings, Marpole, Kerrisdale, Sunset and Hillcrest. Did I somehow miss the Great Migration from British Properties to East Hastings? Did everyone from Shaughnessy suddenly move to Punjabi Market?

  • 65 IanS // Jan 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    @Chris Keam #75:

    “Maybe it will erase these lines in the sand that appear to be drawn and a workable solution might get hammered out.”

    Assuming the this isn’t just a money grab on the part of the Parks Board, I would tend to agree. FWIW, I think that’s what the Community Centre Associations are proposing:

    From Dave Pasin #35: “The Community Centre Associations propose an immediate, short (three month) externally facilitated process to negotiate a common agreement and a common set of principles and policies.”

  • 66 IanS // Jan 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @Chris Keam #50

    That was kind of my point. Yet another failure (on my part) to express sarcasm online. :(

    And, speaking of fault, my reference in my post #61 should be to your post #59, not 75.

  • 67 Chris Keam // Jan 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    “externally facilitated process”

    If a mediator is required I hope the funds to pay for it come out of the Park Board funds for Commissioners’ trips and education budget (call it a learning experience), and the Comm ctr’s surpluses. The taxpayer shouldn’t have to foot the bill for a referee on this IMO.

  • 68 IanS // Jan 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    CK #63:

    That seems fair.

    That may also encourage the Parks Board to take a more conciliatory approach.

  • 69 Eric Harms // Jan 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    As a twenty-year volunteer on my own board (Hastings) – including five as President – let me clear up a few misconceptions with facts:

    Fact: Not one of the associations is opposed to negotiating means-tested access for people that are in financial straights (LAC – the Leisure Access Card). We at our centre have always honoured it. I know of nobody that has been turned away at our centre, and would be very concerned if such were the case. As well, we are in the process of instituting a very forward-thinking aboriginal-run program that is aimed at promoting access and participation for First Nations neighbours in our cachement area.

    Fact: Not one of the associations is opposed to negotiating universal membership. All associations must have members under the Societies Act, but we would be willing to institute system-wide access for members of another association in a new agreement.

    Fact: Retained earnings can be found city-wide. The President of one of the ‘have-not’ centres – who loathes the term – proudly points to a modest surplus that his association has shown for years.

    Fact: In past times we have been encouraged by Park Board to build a surplus so as to pay for minor capital improvements to our centres. As well, when major capital plans go ahead, they are always underfunded. Guess who ponies up the difference? For instance, when the Killarney ice rink was re-done, parents might come an watch their kids skate, but they couldn’t sit – no bleachers were budgeted for! And the kids could skate, turn left, skate, turn left ad infinitum, but they couldn’t (say) play hockey because Park Board didn’t think a time-clock was important. Or, it didn’t budget the money. It was the association that ended up providing these essentials.

    Fact: All of the ‘sacred’ Four Principles that the majority on Park Board hold dear (even though they seem to have been forgotten by Ms. Sharma in a recent interview, so she just riffed on, um, Green…) have been endorsed by all associations. Definitions remain to be worked out, but can.

    Fact: This is not a move by an independent Park Board, but one driven by 12th and Cambie. Penny Ballem was present at virtually all of the meetings that were held Spring-Fall of 2012, driving and dominating the discussions.

    I have more facts to provide, and will do so after dinner is prepared and consumed.

  • 70 Silly Season // Jan 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    @Eric Harms, I think you underscore my point beautifully.

    Sure, the city can give out the money for capital costs, especially for new facilities (and votes!), cut a ribbon, then—basically walk away and leave it up to the associations to come up with the operating costs and ‘extra’ funding.

    To which I say: let the Park Board and associations hammer it out—without City Hall butinskis trying to find the political lever in it all, while trying to grab dollars, votes and the glory–after the fact.

    And since it sounds like all the associations are showing a surplus (modest or otherwise) I so move that all the associations henceforth REPLACE the politicians and some staff at City Hall, since they seem to be providing an incredible amount of service for limited dollars.

    It also seems to me that the neighbourhood community centre associations are not the ones trotting out the east side/west side tedious crap, either. No class ‘wars’ from the community centres. Devious pols and their monkeys on the third floor: take note.

    Finally, it appears that this is another one of those threads where about 99.9% of the posts reflect sound questions, good, respectful discussion/clarification, agreement on basic principles around the matter, and trust in the individual and citizens groups that are the heartbeat of a REAL city.

    That being a city of neighbours and neighbourhoods.

    Take a bow, all.

  • 71 Eric Harms // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    @Chris Porter #1, “Has anyone here ever attended a community centre board meeting or voted in their elections?”
    Voting (or not) doesn’t change the mandate or legitimacy of elections. You may not choose to exercise your franchise in municipal elections, but you’ll still have to feed the parking meter.

    @Lesli Boldt #6, “My Kits tickets work at Lord Byng Pool, but not at Hillcrest, where it’s more expensive to swim than at Byng.”
    The inequities you cite are all at Park Board facilities; they set the price, not an association (which don’t run pools). The reasoning behind higher prices at Hillcrest is that it is a ‘Destination Centre’ (their term), and so they charge you more. In fact, if you note price differences where some facilities are association-run (say, at fitness centres), in the vast majority of cases, the less-expensive option will be run by an association. For instance, the drop-in fee at Kerrisdale’s fitness centre is half ($3) what you’d pay at Creekside, which doesn’t have an association. Associations are all (not most, all) in favour of working our inequity issues, but if price is of any importance, I’d be very wary of a Park Board mandated one-size-fits-all. You’ll end up paying more.

    @Raingurl #22, “Wasn’t this whole issue started because some community centres wouldn’t allow lower income people to use the facilities?”
    No. This whole issue started at least fifteen years ago, when senior Park Board staff saw that associations could run a surplus, and coveted it, because they’re not allowed to run a surplus – it must be kicked back to General Revenues. That culture of wanting to get at the associations’ revenue hasn’t abated in spite of the many changes in both the bureaucracy where it was born, and successive elected Park Boards. The idea has found a ready audience with this Board, who are not taking dainty sips of the Kool-Aid, but heartily chugging, with both hands.

    I want to repeat – this is not about working out access for the less fortunate. My centre, many centres already honour LAC. And ALL have agreed to institute it under a comprehensive new agreement. So far, Park Board staff won’t agree to negotiate such a deal.

    @Morven #24, “Alas, there seems to be a culture of lack of transparency in the City administration that makes…Commissioners appear to be arbitrary and partisan.”
    Sometimes appearances can be deceiving, but not in this case. Commissioners from the majority have taken a resolutely hands-off approach throughout discussions since last June. They’ve left it to senior staff including (in most cases) Ms. Ballem. Is there any wonder people believe it’s all being orchestrated by City Hall and not Beach Ave.?

    One bizarre twist of note: Last fall, when PB General Manager Malcolm Bromley wanted to meet with each association board and brief them (and user groups) on The Proposal, he ‘suggested’ that having Commissioners present would inject a political taint into the meetings. To a person, all from the Park Board majority resolutely refused invitations to such briefings, or ignored them completely. And when our Liaison Commissioner attended, intending to quietly (but attentively) listen to the concerns of citizens, Mr. Bromley left without addressing those who had braved the rain to listen.

    It is only since My Vancouver Community Centres ( launched our media blitz that Commissioners have come out of hiding.

    More later.

  • 72 Silly Season // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    @Eric harms #67

    Wow. Just, wow…

    Well, I for one can hardly wait for “dessert”. :-)

  • 73 brilliant // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Of course if Vision was so concerned with citywide inequality issues they’d get their school board minions to stop the practise of allowing arrivistes to transport their kids to west side school which sucks parent involvement out of east side schools that need it.

  • 74 Bill McCreery // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    In the spirit of providing information to this thread I paraphrase what Robert Lockhart, vice-president of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Association said last night:

    • Kerrisdale CCA pays 70% of the staffing expenses there;
    • the lowest centre pays 30%;
    • the average is 50%;
    • the Park Board pays the balance.

    Therefore, he said there is already a form of subsidy or financial evening out from those CCs that do better financially to those who don’t. I believe he also said the CCAs were willing to look further at refining the redistribution process.

    Based on this and the confirmation from Dave and Eric above my understanding is the CCAs are prepared to agree on the universal access and other non-contentious items on the table. They are opposed to the need for the Park Board / City to take 100% operational and financial control of the centres.

  • 75 Silly Season // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    BTW: What DOES ‘universal access’ mean?

    I note that a CTV thread conversation provided by Chris Keam #49 states that people are walking into facilities without “checks’ and without paying anything. May be just anecdotal, but the conversation is worth having.

    I understand the dilema around costs for some. But we cannot afford another ‘TransLink’ style fare evasion situation going on with our ‘public’ facilities. Even if someone can only ‘something’ it’s better than ‘nothing’. Or that sense of entitlement to ‘everything’.

    Ah, wow again, @Bill McCreery. Kerrisdale pays 70% of staff costs? How does that happen? Does it mean that their fundraising is paying for more/additional staff? To avoid the staff cuts that we have all been hearing about or are they adding more staff above and beyond what any Park Board budget provides?

    And, is that budget amount the same across all facilities? How do they determine that budget? By number of ratepayers in each catchment or a flat, per facility rate?

  • 76 Eric Harms // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    @Sean Nelson #28, “I’m in 100% agreement on the consistency issue. Varying rates and a patchwork of benefits is a barrier to use…”
    If paying more across the board is what you term consistency, you’ll love what Park Board has in store for you, Sean.

    “If community centre associations want to provide value-added services, let them apply their fund-raising abilities to services outside the common facilities.”
    Not at all sure what you mean by ‘common facilities’, but if you mean something like, say, fitness centres, allow me to give you our perspective.

    Back in the mid-late eighties, we had a basement room featuring a disused boxing ring. We approached our partners, Park Board, with our idea to convert the space to a fitness centre. In spite of a solid business plan, the Board was not interested and couldn’t be persuaded to help us build and run it. So our association did it ourselves. We capitalized it. We staffed it. We bought the free weights and stands, we bought and maintained the machines, and replaced them on a regular basis. We provided stretching mats, TV monitors, a sound system, and mirrors on all the walls. We replaced the floor. We expanded into an unused racquetball court with a full cardio room.

    None of this cost taxpayers a nickel.

    Today, our fitness centre nets tens of thousands of dollars annually, providing necessary programming for kids and seniors at our community centre. And does so at about 2/3 the cost for a drop-in user than she’d pay (or you’d pay, Sean) at a Park Board fitness centre. That’s the enhanced value that associations have been providing citizens of Vancouver for decades.

    But this Park Board sees the revenue that our initiative has created and wants it all. At pennies on the dollar for the equipment, and the revenue will go elsewhere.

  • 77 Frances Bula // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    @Bill. This is a little confusing when you look at the bar graph the park board provided showing how much funding each centre gets from the park board and how much they raise on their own.

    If that graph is correct, and I have to assume for now that it is, all the centres (except weirdly West End-Coal Harbour) get about the same amount of base funding from the park board. It looks like around $600,000 a year, although it’s hard to tell exactly. Then the various centres are able to raise more or less money and put on additional programming.

    Kerrisdale is able to raise so much money that it can expand its programs and staffing to the point that the park board base budget only accounts for 30 per cent of the budget. But it seems to still be getting the same amount as, say, Kitsilano and Hastings, but a little bit more than Kensington or Mount Pleasant or Thunderbird.

    So it’s not really accurate to say Kerrisdale is somehow giving back some of its funding to be used elsewhere in the district. There is no real subsidy Kerrisdale is providing to anyone else in the district that I can see.

  • 78 canadianveggie // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    @Eric Harms said: “Voting (or not) doesn’t change the mandate or legitimacy of elections. You may not choose to exercise your franchise in municipal elections, but you’ll still have to feed the parking meter.”

    I vote in every election I can. I’m a political junkie. I even vote for my credit union reps. And yet I’ve never even heard of my elected community centre board. It’s not the biggest issue here, but I do find it weird that the boards trumpet the fact that they’re “locally elected” and yet the mandate of the parks board reps (who had 50,000-60,000 votes) is dismissed.

  • 79 Eric Harms // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    @Chris Keam #40, “Also…, if the idea that some of your volunteer time might end up benefiting people who don’t live in your neighbourhood is objectionable (assuming there’s no impact on your partic. comm centre) that strikes me as missing the point somewhat.”
    Of the scores of people I know from across the city who sacrifice countless hours to participate on their individual boards, I can truly state that I’m not aware of one who isn’t motivated by simple citizenship. If their beneficial efforts ‘spilled over’ into another part of the city, I’m confident they’d say “So much the better!”

    Having said that, we are sworn officers under the Societies Act, which makes our primary responsibility to our members and our association, under penalty of law.

    As to ‘no impact on your particular community centre’, I’d say that it’s you that’s missing the point somewhat.

    No, a lot. Taking all our revenue can’t in any way be described as ‘no impact’, especially since this grand scheme is only guaranteed for as long as this Board is sitting. When a new one is elected (as early as eighteen months) that new board could do anything it wanted with it, and then where would the patrons of community centres be?


  • 80 Frances Bula // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    @Eric. As someone who used to go to that basement room regularly, I applaud what the association did since I moved to another part of town. But when you say the association “capitalized” it, where did the money come from?

    Was it donations? Or was it revenues that you got from running programs at the centre?

    I think a lot of the public, me included, is confused by the joint and overlapping resources that each side has contributed. It seems to me (and, I suspect, to others) that what has happened is the park board has built the buildings, provided some staff and maintenance and cleaning. The the associations have run programs out of those buildings, paying the program staff and taking the revenue. Now each side seems to be saying: But the only reason there is any money is because of what WE did.

    The park board seems to be making the point that they should get part of the program revenues to use elsewhere because they built and maintain the buildings. They don’t acknowledge what you do. But the associations seem to be saying, We made this money all by ourselves and now the park board wants to grab it. But you don’t seem to be acknowledging you couldn’t run the programs or make money if you didn’t have a free building to do it in.

    At least that’s how it is seeming from the outside. I’d appreciate hearing if I have misunderstood something.

  • 81 Glissando Remmy // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Thought of The Night

    “THEY maintain that only a dictatorship—their dictatorship, of course—can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.”
    —Mikhail Bakunin, Statism and Anarchism, 1870

    And by “THEY” he meant… the Marxists.
    143 years have passed since, and the same type of people, with identical mentalities are circling the Democracy wagons.

    From their kibbutz on Cortes Island, the great minds of Hollyhock, all of whom btw are land owners of a pristine “endangered retreat”, put together a 500 years plan… for all of us, proletarians.
    They landed on our Vancouverite plains, with a small entourage in 2005, pushed an unknown juice maker into the spotlight, and checked the waters. Wlater was lukewarm stupid.
    It was only a matter of time until they would decree that we are indeed in need of their brilliant Vision!

    Too bad the people of Vancouver did not realized what hit them until too late… right about… yesterday!
    Stupid + Vancouver=Stupider
    For all of you who voted for the Vision merry gang in 2008 and again in 2011, there are plenty of “ICH BIN EIN STUPIDER” T-Shirts in stock.
    Wear them with pride, you’ve earned it!

    Eric Harms…
    Dave Pasin…
    Bill McCreary
    Good stuff! Great insight. Excellent points.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 82 Marc Macvity // Jan 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Hillcrest – world class facility built before the olympics with tax payer $ (taxpayers from around the entire city)- naturally attracts more business than a older centre without a brand new pool, rink, curling centre etc. Did the local community build the centre? or did the city wide tax base?

    Sunset – brand new facility – naturally attracts more business – did the community around the centre build it or did all of our tax $ go towards it?

    Marpole – aren’t you next on the new facility list …who is contributing the funds for the new centre – the entire city? or just the marpole neighborhood?

    Killarney – you have both a pool and a rink – does every community centre have a pool and rink attached to draw in additional business?

    Seems like the playing field isn’t quite level. Also, are any of the community centre operations paid by our tax dollars or are they all run and paid for fully by the associations revenues?

    wish my centre was brand new too!

  • 83 Bill McCreery // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    @ Frances.
    I repeated what Mr Lockart said. I see your point. It would be good to hear from him or perhaps Dave or Eric.

    From what I recall, and as well from long ago, the CCAs who put on more programmes do need more staff and have more expenses. They are offering these programmes to any member who can be from anywhere in the City, albeit most come from the neighbourhood or adjacent communities. So this Park Board funding could be equal for each CC as you say. It can also be broken down in other different ways such as the size of the centre and the range and type of facilities (which vary widely), the catchment population, the number of individuals served, etc.

    As I recall a variety of factors such as the above must be applied to this assessment, including your observation.

  • 84 Eric Harms // Jan 31, 2013 at 1:23 am

    @Frances #80 Happy to set the record straight (as much as I’m able).

    “Where did the money come from?”
    The exact source of funds is unknown to me, as I hadn’t yet begun my stint on our board. It surely will have come from a number of sources, some of which you’ve mentioned (some not). Donations, certainly – although not a huge revenue stream. It’s been somewhat better since we qualified for registered charity status.

    And yes, some programs make us more than they cost, so program revenue would also have gone into our fitness centre. As well, we have been able to raise money from room/facility/gym rentals. We do OK – not as well as some. The President of one of our ‘have-not’ centres, on one recent Saturday, proudly showed me the set-up for children’s birthday parties in their gym, complete with inflated bouncy-castle. He tells me that they do three or four back-to-back on both days of a good weekend. So, these are sources of funds available to associations within the ‘plant’ itself.

    Finally, there are sources available to some associations that come from the ability to recognise and respond quickly to an opportunity, sound business acumen, prudent investment, initiative, and luck. For instance, decades ago Killarney made a down payment on a community hall that they licensed and ran as a very profitable bingo venue. When they sold the property, they retained the license which gives them a certain number of evenings at the Legion bingo on the west side of Main, near 10th Ave. Members of their board donate their time to overseeing these evenings, in order to make the profit that goes to providing services to their membership (and the public) in their centre.

    In our case, we are ‘blessed’ with living next to the PNE. It happens that the Park Board developed the parking lot on the southeast corner of Hastings and Renfrew in the mid-70s, and were going to farm it out to Buster’s or Drake (or some such) to manage. Members of our association, recognizing an opportunity, asked if we couldn’t bid on the concession, and we won it. Park Board gets a handsome return on the property, and the association is able to see a tidy profit on their oversight – especially because the oversight is free. I personally was at the lot three times a day for many of the seventeen days of the fair. So was every member of our board, in order to ensure proper, prudent management. All profits from this venture are used to provide programming (some of which runs – every year- at a loss, because of it’s social value), replace furnishings, and make capital improvements to our centre.

    As for the ‘free building’, we are not the only association (or community) to have contributed to the community centre movement by erecting/sponsoring our own buildings or parts thereof. In the case of Hastings, 22 of my neighbours put up four bits each to make the eleven dollars it cost to register as a Society in 1934. Two years later (in the depths of the Great Depression, mind), they had enough of the ready, or donations in kind, or sweat equity, to build and furnish our community hall, which is an integral part of our centre today, accommodating a hundred pre-schoolers a week. A subsequent addition, in the 40s, was paid for with 50% public funds and 50% put up by Hastings.

    As well, many other centres were financed by local initiatives, whereby the neighbourhood saw an extra increment on their tax bill, in order to pay for local improvements.

    “The park board seems to be making the point that they should get part of the program revenues to use elsewhere…”
    Not ‘part’ of the revenues, Frances. Virtually all. On a budget approaching $2 Mil., they are proposing to pat us on the head and give us an ‘allowance’ of (maybe) $30 K to do with as we please. (Heart thudding)

    I’m very near the end of my term, but it’s really too bad, because we have some very bright and talented people coming up on my board. Maybe they’ll be willing to put in the time, for an allowance approaching $30 thousand to ‘make a real difference’ in their community.

    Maybe not, though.

  • 85 IanS // Jan 31, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Thank you for all the information, Eric.

  • 86 Bill // Jan 31, 2013 at 8:46 am

    @GR #81

    Spot on but it is just not limited to Vancouver and the Hollyhucksters. Progressives are the new THEY.

  • 87 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 31, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Even hippies must finally admit that Groucho was right: “When money walks through the door, love flies out the window”.

  • 88 spartikus // Jan 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Remember when Pol Pot restructured Phnom Penh’s community centres?

    That was the beginning.

  • 89 Silly Season // Jan 31, 2013 at 11:45 am

    @Eric Harms. This is utterly fascinating.

    ‘As for the ‘free building’, we are not the only association (or community) to have contributed to the community centre movement by erecting/sponsoring our own buildings or parts thereof’

    So, who ‘owns’ the cc buildings—and the land they sit on? Park Board (taxpayers?). Do the community centre associations own the parts they have developed, added onto and ‘financed?’

    If I can ‘dumb it down’ for my own consumption, it sounds like PB has provided a ‘shell’ (of varying types, in varying amounts) and then the community centres have basically run ‘the business’ side of things.

    Hmmm. Does this mean that the ‘landlord’ (Park Board) is trying to take over the ‘business’ of running the centres (basically successful services that has been been provided by individual community centre associations).

    And then, run it with more taxpayer money? That doesn’t sound like an idea whose time has come.

    Hearing how communities have taken the initiative to actually add value to our community centres through their own initiatives, makes me think that City Hall’s move is nothing more than just after a money grab. Ok, that and the ability to take credit for successful programs put in place by cc associations.

    By the way—does Park Board have access to all community centre membership lists—or is that the domain of the cc association running the place?

    The rest of the issues—LAC, access, parity—seems to be just so much window dressing to push citizen groups out of their own places.

  • 90 L // Jan 31, 2013 at 11:48 am

    So impressed with the details and accuracy of the comments by @Eric Harms. I don’t know of anyone who has put as much time, effort and dedication into his community, he truly knows the facts, and deals with the comments in a fair, honest and non derogatory manner.

  • 91 Frances Bula // Jan 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    My thanks to Eric as well, for giving us so much detail and without name-calling.

  • 92 Silly Season // Jan 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I think what @Eric Harms has is called ‘institutional memory”. Very, very valuable.

    Speaking about name-calling: ‘spin’, DELIBERATE misinformation, name calling, innuendo and good ol’ fashioned trash talking is coming out regularily on this from 3rd floor City Hall and Park Board Twitter accounts.

    Talk about childish and self aggrandizing. Citizen groups and individuals are raked over the coals by pols and their political staffers?! WT*?!

    This is the same disdainful, dismissive response we see all too often during council meetings when people who want to have their say over issues, say something council dislikes.

    Not all who care–including those who volunteer in their cc associations– are politically aligned or motivated.

    And certainly not in this case not when you see how deep and ‘pan-civically’ the feelings runs across the city.

    The City really needs to give more than (curling) lip service to community groups. These verbal/written attacks against non-politicians must stop. Yes, I’ve also seen ‘community group’ tweets ‘go there’ but the pols and their people shoudl be able to handle those more effectively, yes?

    It’s particularily pathetic to see tweets from those in City Hall then go out as re-tweets from certain Park Board Twitter accounts. Ugh.

    Sorry, kids, this democracy thing is messy business…perhaps if you were all a little more humble, engaged with and acknowledged the contributions of these community centre groups instead of bringing in your verbal sledgehammers and ‘we know what’s best’ attitude’, you’d be much, much farther ahead.

  • 93 Silly Season // Jan 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    …and, here’s the perfect illustration, from @VanCourier of what I just wrote about…

    Community centres protest Vancouver park board plan

    Public meeting at Killarney turns ugly after commissioner’s rant

    By Sandra Thomas, Staff writer January 30, 2013

    Almost 400 seniors showed up to a hastily called meeting at the Kerrisdale Community Centre Tuesday afternoon to protest what many are calling a cash grab by the park board.

    As first reported in the Courier in 2011, the park board is negotiating with the city’s community centre associations to finalize a new joint operating agreement. The Vision Vancouver dominated board wants to change the way the centres operate, including centralizing “core programs.” The most contentious of the recommendations would see the park board take all revenues from room rentals and programs – money traditionally retained by the associations. The park board argues the money should be pooled into a general account to be distributed amongst “poorer” centres. The park board calls the recommendation “non-negotiable.”

    That’s where at least six community centre associations have drawn a line in the sand. The model for the joint partnership, developed almost 50 years ago, sees the park board supply the physical building while the associations manage the centres. In some cases, the associations helped build the centres, rinks or pools.

    The afternoon meeting at Kerrisdale was held for seniors while a second meeting Tuesday evening at the centre was open to the public.

    Senior Marianne Kropf told the Courier she’s been a regular at the centre since her husband died three years ago. She warned the park board must pay attention to the senior vote.

    “If you want to get something done get a bunch of seniors involved,” said Kropf. “There’s power in this.”

    Robert Lockhart, vice-president of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Association, said the two main concerns with the proposed agreement are a fear the costs for programs will increase dramatically and that the seniors lunch program would be eliminated.

    Another evening meeting was held at Killarney Community Centre, where the gathering turned ugly when Vision Vancouver commissioner Trevor Loke addressed the crowd in what can best be described as a tirade. Loke began by thanking the crowd for showing up, but those platitudes quickly turned into a rant about the inequalities between poor associations and their rich counterparts in communities like Killarney.

    Loke’s comments caused the crowd, made up largely of blue-collar workers, seniors, immigrants and young families, to react with shouts and boos of disapproval.

    Following Loke’s comments, a man stood up and asked the young commissioner why he thought it was reasonable to “scream at us like kids.”

    “Who the hell do you think you are,” the man yelled at Loke.

    Former Green park board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon also addressed the crowd at Killarney Tuesday night.

    “Tonight we are discussing in my opinion, the most cynical, desperate and dishonest power grab by a city management who are more concerned with their own megalomania and control than what is best for the people,” Mackinnon said.

    Green Coun. Adriane Carr told crowds at both Kerrisdale and Killarney that despite information to the contrary, the issue is in fact a council matter and does not lie solely with the park board. Carr explained if there is a financial trickle-down effect to changes in the way park board programs are run, any demand for more money will come back to city council.

    Read more:

  • 94 Bill Lee // Jan 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    And checking my own question about Malcolm Bromley’s experience in Toronto…..

    See map for the extent (in the almagamated large) Toronto map for locations and ‘types’

    Association of Community Centres (AOCCs)
    Relationship Framework
    A Council-approved Relationship Framework (PDF) sets out City Council’s delegation of authority, expectations and requirements for the Boards of Management of the Community Centres (AOCCs).

    Board responsibilities
    The mandate of each board of management is to manage and control the premises as a local community centre.
    The responsibilities of the board include the following specific matters:
    – the overall management, operation and maintenance of the Community Centre ensuring compliance with the bylaw, applicable laws and applicable City policies
    – the overall development, funding and management of all Community Centre programs
    – the approval of the annual administrative budget for recommendation to City Council
    – the approval of the annual report for submission to City Council
    – the approval of all programs including fees for the use of the facilities and programs if applicable
    – the development of resources to support activities, programs and services of the Community Centre
    – the hiring and evaluation of the Community Centre’s Executive Director
    – the approval of the Community Centre’s Annual Financial Statements for audit purposes and receiving the report of the Auditor
    Term of office
    The term of office is set by the board but cannot exceed four years.
    Board composition ranges from 7 to 16 members and includes the ward Councillor:
    [ there follows a list of 10 CCentres ]

  • 95 Higgins // Jan 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Anyone in here familiar (from a scholar POV) with the rise and fall of despotism? You can look around throughout the history data all you want, Vision Vancouver’s business conduct fits the bill like a glove! You need to attend special Hollyhock classes to be able to get to that level of a-holeism.
    FWIW, commish trevor loke and his lack of understanding, doesn’t matter, he’s just another young hound trained for the things to come. He couldn’t understand that he was there at the community center to … LISTEN!
    Hopefully people are not going to stay stupid and let that happen again in 2014. Amen to that!

  • 96 Morven // Jan 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Nobody has yet answered the question on whether the funds held by the Community Centres are held in trust for the centre or association, held in trust for the users of the centre, or held in trust for the citizens of Vancouver.

    The Parks Board and their Commissioners are doing an atrocious job of policy analysis without ever establishing the legal niceties. If the money raised is held in trust for the centre or the community association, the Parks Board is a policy dunce for not establishing the legalities without even making a business case.

    I would have expected better of city policy planners. How do they make such heavy weather of a simple policy discussion and in doing so, making community centre volunteers sound like anti-social elites when the opposite is true.

    The anti-social elites may well be ensconced as city hall officials – or so it seems.

  • 97 Morven // Jan 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Further, there is a term beloved by policy planners – subsidiarity.

    That is, decisions should devolve to the lowest possible level commensurate with good practice.

    Sounds like a good rationale for the Community Centre Association model rather than the prescriptive, centralised model favoured by the Parks Board.

  • 98 Morven // Jan 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    One of most dreaded phrases in public consultation is :

    “I am from the government (Parks Board) and I am here to help you”

    It is normally a recipe for consultation failure.

  • 99 Bill Lee // Jan 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Stuart McKinnon, ex-Green Party Park Board member, Killarney High teacher, etc. has a blog and posted about the Killarney CC meeting, and his little speech there.

    Wander around from this:

    [ And his op-ed column in today’s Province newspaper )

  • 100 waltyss // Jan 31, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I too appreciate the posts by Frances and particularly by Eric Harms. Thank you for very informative respectful presentations that have solidified me in my view that this move by the City/Parks Board is absolutely ill advised. I just remain curious why my CC (Dunbar) is keeping its head down.
    That said, an example of the usual crud is provided by Glissy the NPA troll, Higgins, brilliant not and others with their tired and pointless analogies of the Soviet Gulag, despotism, references to Hollyhock and the other tired nostrums of our resident aged, nasty rightists who have nothing useful to contribute. There is a legitimate issue here of how to attempt to ensure that the city’s community centres offer comparable (not the same) services in each part of the city, the equity issue. It does not seem to be a west side/east side issue particularly when we see that Hastings or even Raycam and Strathcona can bring in additional money and offer a wide variety of programmes but for some reason others can’t seem to, even if not in the poorest areas. I for one would like to know what if any analysis of why has been undertaken of the differences. Is it because the underperforming cc’s are incompetent? If so, then the solution is not to destroy the system where it is working properly but to explore steps to see what it can do, including looking at replacing their boards.
    If the issue is something related to the poverty of the surrounding area, then why are they not able to do what Raycam has been doing (hard to have a poorer surrounding area) in accessing additional funds.
    Even if substandard programming is related to socio-economic factors in the catchment area, then why not help them with accessing availalbe grant money and as a last resort do something like a tax on the programming offered throughout the system (ie. a certain % added on to programme fees that could be redistributed to areas where programming is less than ideal because of the economics fo the surrounding area. It is not, however, necessary to destroy the entire system which will inevitably have a negative impact on the programming offering when it becomes centralized.

  • 101 Glissando Remmy // Jan 31, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Waltyss #99

    “Well, ain’t that nice?”

    Also, here’s a singalong for you to master:
    No shame in that, you know…

  • 102 Alan Baycroft // Jan 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    @Frances Bula – regarding your post @Bill

    “If that graph is correct, and I have to assume for now that it is, all the centres (except weirdly West End-Coal Harbour) get about the same amount of base funding from the park board.”

    The reason for this ‘weird discrepancy’ is that our West End Community Centre Association operates 3 separate facilities in partnership with the Park Board: 2 “full-sized” community centres: West End & Coal Harbour, together with a smaller facility: Barclay Manor – if you imagine the bar graph roughly divided in two, then it’s in line with with the other data in the presentation you are referring to.

  • 103 Ned // Jan 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    What a surprise Waltyss 99!
    From all the people… you are the only one “calling names” on this blog. And apropos, you are not bringing in nothing new either. At least “the usual crud is provided by Glissy the NPA troll, Higgins, brilliant not and others” they have a strong opinion. What do you have? A… follow up?After the Waldorf love-in, here comes the next best act of defiance from Vision vancouver hacks and their handpick City hall henchmen. It’s only a matter of time till someone suggest Penny Ballem to be fired! Done. I’ll suggest it.

  • 104 Eric Harms // Jan 31, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    @canadianveggie #78 “I vote in every election I can. I’m a political junkie…And yet I’ve never even heard of my elected community centre board.”
    Most haven’t. And general ignorance of who we are and what we do is down to us – it’s our fault that we’ve had to teach a crash course in the last few days. Association boards are not some secret cabal, evilly plotting mayhem, but (in the vast majority of cases) your neighbours who are willing to get involved – in their own way – in public life. Civil Society writ small. I’ve said before, we are governed by the Societies Act with all that entails: We must post notice of our AGMs on the premises and in the newspaper within so many days of the meeting – sorry, that figure escapes me just now. Same procedure applies to changes in bylaws or to our constitution. Attendance is public, but voting is restricted to members of the association who have been in good standing for (again, don’t quote me) 60 days, I think. Annual financial data and reports are also given – in our case, a printed annual report is available for members to keep.

    “…but I do find it weird that the boards trumpet the fact that they’re ‘locally elected’ and yet the mandate of the parks (sic) board reps (who had 50,000-60,000 votes) is dismissed.
    I’m not sure who is doing the dismissing, but it wasn’t me. To serve as a Park Board Commissioner requires huge personal sacrifice. I believe they deserve our respect and our thanks. They give up a great deal of their time weekly, and are paid bubkes. Consider: eight thousand dollars per annum, plus 4K expenses.

    That’s an avocation, maybe; it’s not a job. So, what does this mean? It means nobody can afford to give full attention to being a Commissioner, including doing the scut work to really get at a tough issue. They do their best (most), but only the most assiduous are well-versed on most of the things that come before the Board. I wouldn’t say that any of them are bad people, just (in this case) people putting forward really bad policy.

    Remember the old saw -‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King’? If you control the information flow, results will follow. Of course (mindful of laws regulating slander and libel) I would never imply that senior staff – either at City Hall or Beach Ave. – would seek to pursue their own agendas in such a Machiavellian manner. Policy must be left to politicians, no? Far be it from me to suggest such a thing.

    I have heard more than one person leaving a Park Board meeting, muttering something about ‘meat puppets’, though.

    I do grant you, canadianveggie, that Park Board Commissioners enjoy a much more robust mandate than I, and I would never presume to speak for the public, which is their due. I am merely elected to represent my members, and to pursue the interests of my association, which is the wellbeing of the membership and the broader community.

    Speaking of mandates…I’m something of a political junkie myself. If you attended any Park Board all-candidate meetings during the last election, we might have sat beside one another, as I was at them all, I think. And, you know, I never once heard a candidate say, ‘Give me your vote, and I’ll (or we’ll) go after those nasty associations in the community centres, and redistribute their revenue!”. Now, that would have been a real mandate.

  • 105 waltyss // Jan 31, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    @Ned #101, Gee, Ned, sorry for leaving you out, old, and I mean OLD, chum. So, please let me amend my post #99 to read:
    ” an example of the usual crud is provided by Glissy the NPA troll, Higgins, brilliant not, Ned and others with their tired and pointless analogies of the Soviet Gulag, despotism, references to Hollyhock and the other tired nostrums of our resident aged, nasty rightists who have nothing useful to contribute”
    Sorry, bud, didn’t mean to leave you out and with the amendment, I hope you feel better and that the dyspepsia has abated.

  • 106 Richard // Jan 31, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    @Eric Harms

    Further to your point on Parks Board, now it is task that requires full time attention. It is about time that is acknowledge and their compensation be raised to reflect that. It must be a real challenge for them to juggle full time work with Park Board responsibilies. They each could also use their own staff person to help out with these big issues. If elected officials don’t have the resources they need, democracy is not best served.

  • 107 F.H.Leghorn // Jan 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    @Richard: That’s why they want to raid the CC bank accounts. That’s all we need: full-time politicians on the Parks Board and increased staff time on top. How that benefits CC members is less clear.

  • 108 canadianveggie // Jan 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks for your reply Eric. As others have mentioned, your level-headed thinking on this issue is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other commenters on here.

  • 109 Glissando Remmy // Jan 31, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Thought of The Day

    “The ‘Vancouver + Stupid’ T-shirt sales with the slogan: “ICH BIN EIN STUPIDER” … going through the roof!” :-)

    Not too many moons ago El Waltyss wrote the following:

    ” You see we live in a democracy and the majority gets to choose their leaders. The leaders run on a platform that sets out what they intend to do and how they intend to do it. If a majority don’t like the platform, they don’t vote them in. Very simple, really.”

    My response?…
    Wrong, wrong, and wrong!

    2011 Municipal Election results were as follows:
    Of the TOTAL 418,878 registered voters, there were 144,823 recorded ballots, marking the voter turnout at 34.57%.
    Meeyor Gregor got (77,005) 53.17% of the votes to Suzanne Anton 40.12% making him the preferred candidate for 18.38% of TOTAL registered voters of Vancouver!
    That’s less than a fifth (1/5), dunno about your mathematical skills, but by far, it’s NOT A MAJORITY!

    “No Vision Vancouver” Council members got an average of (59,116) 40.82% of the votes, making them the preferred party for 14.11% of TOTAL registered voters of Vancouver!
    That’s a seventh (1/7), again dunno about your mathematical skills, , but by far, it’s NOT A MAJORITY!
    It’s an even bigger LAUGHABILITY.

    “No Vision Vancouver” Park Board Members got an average of (58,540) votes or 40.42% of the votes, making them the preferred party for 13.97% of TOTAL registered voters of Vancouver!
    That’s a seventh (1/7), again dunno about your mathematical skills, , but by far, it’s NOT A MAJORITY!
    It’s an even bigger LAUGHABILITY… again!

    “No Vision Vancouver” VSB Trustees members got an average of (63,613) or 43.92% of the votes, making them the preferred party for 15.18% of TOTAL registered voters of Vancouver!
    That’s a hair over a seventh (1/7), again dunno about your mathematical skills, , but by far, it’s NOT A MAJORITY!
    It’s only a littler LAUGHABILITY.

    Take all the votes across the board… council, mayor, parks, school.
    Vision Vancouver got elected based on the votes from 15.41% of the TOTAL registered voters of Vancouver!
    That’s something in between 1/6 (sixth) and 1/7 (seventh)!
    YES-That’s a pitiful minority my friends. A minority that sees themselves and acts as a majority.
    Grandiose Delusions!

    As for that arrogant, inexperienced, impertinent Commissar Trevor Loke, his numbers were LOL… 49,878 /34.44%/11.90% OR less than an 1/8 (eight) and with only 858 votes more than the next candidate.
    He does not clearly understand he got lucky running on Vision’s tailcoat, and that he cashed in on the ignorance of Vancouver voters. Period.
    At least now, some of the voters know what they let inside the house.

    Hey, all I wanted to do was to Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate -The-Positive :

    Till future encounters of the laughing kind…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 110 Eric Harms // Jan 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Those interested might like to see Allen Garr’s column here:

  • 111 canadianveggie // Jan 31, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    FYI: For anyone hoping to make the comments more readable, this one line greasemonkey script does wonders for me:
    this.jQuery(“p.comment_meta strong:contains(‘Glissando’)”).parent().siblings(“div.entry”).html(“blah blah blah”);

  • 112 Boohoo // Jan 31, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Seriously….the ramblings used to be somewhat topical and even occasionally funny. They’ve devolved considerably…

  • 113 Richard // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:25 am


    Full time Park Board would have more time to meet with residents, study issues. Would be better for all residents of city.

  • 114 InsiderDoug // Feb 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

    “Pokes Hornets nest” is right.

    The why is simple. We’ve been talking about it for years. Centralization of Ballem’s power. She controls Park Board staff now, through Malcolm. She got rid of Brent Toderian, who dared to have opinions, and put in someone she could control, so now she controls Planning. She controls communications staff, and thus communications and the message. Only the yes-people are left.

    She’s been at it for years, with Vision’s support. We can only presume it was their idea, in hiring her and getting rid of Judy Rogers. She’s consistant, and the citizens and media have been fairly silent up till now.

    Consolidation of power. And money.

    We shouldn’t be shocked. We should pay attention.

  • 115 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

    @114 and anyone else…

    To what end? Centralize all this power yadda yadda with the goal of…….?

  • 116 brilliant // Feb 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

    @boohoo 115-the Hollyhock agenda. After buyinga pet gov’t Tides is going to exoect results.

    What’s sad is that you,sparty, Witless and CK will go on defending Vision’s powergrabs and making excuses until the cows come hom. Well, maybe chickens rather than cows.

  • 117 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 10:29 am


    Stop being obtuse. I haven’t defending vision here, I’ve repeatedly called for the party itself to be completely disbanded. You’re just being willfully ignorant so you don’t have to acknowledge the little stereotypical box you’ve put me in doesn’t fit.

    Now, what is the hollyhock agenda? What is the end goal? Control of a mid-level city in an internationally mid-level country? Or what? Give me some specifics.

  • 118 Mira // Feb 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Glissando Remmy , bless your heart for post 109 … the Vision Vancouver “numbers’. WOW!
    I do trust that they are correct. If anyone have different numbers please do show.
    If they are correct than I want all Vision Vancouver admirers on this blog to keep quiet, sshhhh there goes your “strong public support” 14 to 18% of Vancouver voters, ha!
    For the usual suspects… boohoo, canadianveggie (your name is your fortubne, it defines you perfectly), librarian sparty, witless … Cirque du Soleil called, they are accepting applications!
    Eric Harm, thanks for your very informed and blunt commentaries. How come NONE of the City Hall staff, Vision councillors, CM Ballem, Vision park Board members, etc, were privy to the info? because, if they were and still went ahead with their plan … that’s EVIL!

  • 119 Mira // Feb 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Ha, ha…
    I should have read boohoo’s post 117 before posting previously.
    Boo, you are full of it! You play ignorant?
    read for yourself:
    You were there, boo, you read about read that before “Now, what is the hollyhock agenda? What is the end goal? Control of a mid-level city in an internationally mid-level country? Or what? Give me some specifics.” ha, ha, ha … you left a couple of comments too.
    Nice spin. Take a break from that.

  • 120 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 11:00 am


    Notwithstanding the ridiculous exaggeration in the citycaucus article or in your lapping it up without thinking, my question remains. Give me some concrete examples of this vision? Of this dark devious plan? What possible influence or evil tyranny could these people have over you even if they controlled vancouver’s politics as you argue? You give these guys way too much credit!!! LOL

    You keep just throwing out these vague threats, these vague insinuations ‘fascists’! ‘socialists’! ‘communists’! ‘green Eco-tyrrany’! but never provide examples. You never give details.

    You’re just scared. I’m just starting to feel pity for you guys.

  • 121 brilliant // Feb 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

    @boohoo – sorry for the lateness of my reply, I was just enjoying a stroll down fabula memory lane circa Dec 13. Enjoying all the comments from enraged “progressives” over forcing the mentally ill into treatment in light of last nights horrific stabbing rampage in the West End. But I digress

    Of course the Hollyhock agenda is blocking the sale of Canada’s natural resources, under a healthy dollop of greenwash. Along the way Vision is rewarding their developer buddies as they steamroller over neighbourhood concerns by allowing “green” highrises willynilly.

  • 122 Mira // Feb 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Better educate yourself. Read more history books, Higgins advice @115 could be a good start for you. 4 years in office.
    WHOLE upper City Hall management have been replaced. Ballem and Sadhu with not even a for our benefit fake search like they did with the others. YES MEN and YES WOMEN. City staff execute the ballem’s plans as if they were in a propaganda movie for the Bolsheviks. No thinking whatsoever, opposition, consultation, not even questioning of the actions of the great leader. Nada.
    You read the paid for articles in different periodicals, the mayor advices, he greets, he oozes, he urges, he raises his concerns, he kisses baby butts… please before anything peruse a 1988 Pravda (they might have it on film at the VPL)! Buh bye,… work to do!

  • 123 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 11:23 am


    How can Vancouver block natural resource sales?

    Is condo building where the locals don’t want it really it? That’s the evil plot? Tell me there’s more.


    Again, to what end Mira. Ok, let’s pretend you’re right and city hall is full of yes men and women. Then what? What are specific evil things they are doing???

  • 124 spartikus // Feb 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Little known historical fact: In addition to crushing the Kulaks, Stalin also placed heavy emphasis on spot-zoning.

  • 125 gman // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    The agenda began in Vancouver back in 76 and can be read here,
    It was later rewritten by the president of the world communist party and morphed into Agenda 21.Later in 1990 they started ICLEI and Cadman has been a lead player for years.These are easily verified facts and if people are to lazy to to even a minimum of research they will get what they deserve.
    They know exactly what their doing,first they win an election and load city hall with like minded flunkies and eventually control it.You see in this way even if they lose the next election they still control the hall.Its very simple really and if good people who work at the hall choose not to educate themselves about these things soon and push back it will be inevitable that our bylaws will all be written in Brussels.Wake the hell up people.

  • 126 spartikus // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    It was later rewritten by the president of the world communist party

    Not to be confused with the Galactic Communist Party, who are dirty splitters.

  • 127 gman // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Spartikus have you ever read it,do you even know what it is? There is no cure for stupid Sparti but a little reading could help with your willful ignorance.

  • 128 gasp // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm


    1. Vision has systematically destroyed the social cohesion of every neighbourhood in this City by demonizing neighbourhood activists and groups who oppose their plans in order to ram through all of its predetermined (thank you for the donation, you won’t be disappointed) “decisions” with respect to land use and development.

    2. Vision has taken money intended for community amenities and redirected that money into areas that benefit Vision’s image rather than the communities affected by their obtuse decisions (eg, using CCA’s for phony “affordable” housing, aka “market rental” housing).

    3. Vision has permanently damaged the small business environment in this City by creating policies that encourage rampant land speculation, driving up both commercial rents and taxes. Meanwhile they have failed to manage and control their own internal costs effectively, spending like drunken sailors on things like unnecessary trips and parties for Gregor and entourage, and paying excessive salaries for completely unqualified hires (Ballem, Sandhu, etc.)

    4. Vision has used the City’s residents as revenue generators for their agenda or “vision”, while cutting back on services our taxes are supposed to be paying for. Punitive parking meter fees and jacking up fines for minor by-law infringements are just two examples which show Visions true intent is to use rather than serve the City’s residents and visitors.

    5. Vision’s policies are resulting in an exodus from this City because many people are finding it too expensive to live here any more. Not just young people, but many long-time residents and newly retired people are selling out, packing up and leaving the City because of this.

    Their are many more examples of the damage that Vision and his hand picked hatchet woman, Penny Ball-em all have done. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to continue this list today, but I’m sure there are many others who can do so.

  • 129 gasp // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Sorry, @128, last paragraph should read “There are many more examples . . .”

  • 130 gman // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I see Vision,knowing full well that they stuck their foot in this one and their plan to try and pit neighborhood against neighborhood with their manufactured meme about inequities is trying to redirect the heat by bringing out another bike lane controversy.They want to get their bike lobby on board again and as per their usual M.O. they are again trying to pit us against each other.So predictable.

  • 131 gman // Feb 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    A correction to my comment @125
    Gro Harlem Brundtland was the Vice President of the World Socialist International.

  • 132 Andrew Browne // Feb 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I think that if you were to start a community centre / recreation system today you would never select this fractured model. It strikes me as absurd that one needs multiple passes, payable to a 3rd party operator, to access what are fully publicly-owned capital assets. Throw on the base funding from the Parks board, plus the local Boards being able to keep all the revenue, and it gets even weirder. With revenue trapped in these organizations it isn’t being deployed efficiently for the best interests of Vancouver.

    It also does not surprise me that the entrenched Boards of the various community centres don’t want anything to change. Well, of course not. They have their little kingdom and are quite content. To be expected, but not itself a reason to shun reform.

    Revenues generated in these publicly-owned assets should be utilized as directed by the Parks board, either to bring more equitable level of service across the board, or to reinvest in additional capital assets, such as new or expanded community centres. Or, heck, reinvested in any other Park-related invitiative, such as opportunistic land acquisitions for neighbourhoods that lack parks / open space.

    And I don’t really see why this would impact volunteers – operationally I see very little changing, with autonomy over programming (except possibly pricing) still being at the local level. I think what are being conflated are “local Board members” and “volunteers.” The implication is that we may piss off the local Board members, perhaps, but I don’t see this really impacting the program-related volunteering?

    Anyway, things seem heated but I hope for a reasonable, mutually agreeable outcome that, as best as possible, meets the goals of all parties.

  • 133 sv // Feb 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Do we have any idea yet why only 6 of the 24 C.C.A. ‘s have signed on to this campaign?

  • 134 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Ahh Ned,

    Need I remind you I have said repeatedly, and will say again–abolish vision. Abolish the NPA. No more parties. If I’m a vision propagandist, I’m really shitty at my job.

    Can we move past this lie you tell yourselves and get to my question?

    What facts? Show me this literature that states what a middling local government could possibly do to cause such vitriolic reactions in people. Again, you give this municipality and its leaders way too much credit…

  • 135 Ned // Feb 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    “Need I remind you I have said repeatedly, and will say again–abolish vision. Abolish the NPA. No more parties.”
    Well then let’s do that boohoo.
    Anyway, by your admission “I live in a neighbourhood in Vancouver and guess what. Vision hasn’t impacted me one bit, I get along just fine with my neighbours, our social cohesion is as strong as ever.”
    Which means they, Vision Vancouver including several City Hall staff are completely useless. YES. Huge waste of public money!
    Question is, tell me, do you really think 400 people, old enough to be grandparents to that Vision clown Trevor Loke, filled out the KCC room because they thought it was Bingo Night?
    Jesus, you’re something else.

  • 136 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    “Which means they, Vision Vancouver including several City Hall staff are completely useless.”

    “So as long as nothing directly affects you and your little enclave screw everyone else”

    How on earth do you arrive at those assumptions?

  • 137 teririch // Feb 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    @gman #130:

    The Vision PB is running the same game that the Vanouver School Board did when their budget was short and started to talk about closing schools – in the East Side….

    They (like unionists) are using ‘emotion’ vs ‘fact.

    And before the unionists jump on that statement, that tactict was discussed by labor leaders and unionsits on a recently aired doc called ‘Labour Woes’.

    Many times unions can’t dispute the facts so they play to public emotion.

    Such as the BCTF’s: ‘It is for the Kids’.

  • 138 gman // Feb 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Absolutely,they do like to pull at our heart strings.And anyone who happens to disagree must hate kids,the environment,cycling and must be paid by big oil.

  • 139 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm


    Kinda like how anyone who disagrees here is a visionista pawn who loves destroying communities, hates democracy, public process and is just a shill for their american overlords?

    See how stupid that is? Can we move past this childish nonsense?

  • 140 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Bill–don’t worry, I spend my time devising ways to waste more time, all on your dime.

  • 141 gman // Feb 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    No boo,just the ones who try and defend the blatantly indefensible either out of ignorance or for political gain. Ignorance I can forgive,but to do it for the party is disgusting.

  • 142 boohoo // Feb 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    No, we can’t move past it. Ok, at least you’re being honest.

  • 143 Dave // Feb 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    @waltyss #100
    Besides collaborating with the APG, the Dunbar CCA is active in our own neighbourhood. Look for our updates on the DRA e-mailing list. In fact DCCA was among the first to break this story back in 2011. My ‘rant’ was later toned-down and re-published in the DRA snail-mail list, spread over the first three pages of this issue:

    Also monitor updates on the Board site,

    Finally (and probably most current), updates on FaceBook:

    Having said that, I think you will find that all the CCA’s would agree with Eric’s excellent summaries in this thread. Some CCA’s are pursuing the media campaign that you are now experiencing while others (including Dunbar) are attempting to find a thoughtful, fair and progressive proposal that meets the diverse needs of the community members who use the Centres, as well meeting the stated needs of the City.

    @CanadianVeggie #78
    Voting happens at the AGM. Please join us. The date appears on your membership card, in the Brochure (which I believe you are familiar with :-) that is mailed to your house. It is also advertised on our reader board on Dunbar street, and the Vancouver Courier every year.

  • 144 Andrew Browne // Feb 1, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    So… how’s everyone doing?

    I think you all need some couples’ counselling. :)

  • 145 waltyss // Feb 2, 2013 at 12:19 am

    About #108 the exchange of information and largely respectful exchange of views ended and the NPA trolls took over the conversation with their vitriol and looney conspiracy theories. Tant pis!
    Frances, I think that is the optimum number before the thread should be cut off is about that number.

  • 146 brilliant // Feb 2, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Or we could just cut off the “contributions” of the Vision shills, so we aren’t subjected to the propaganda straight from Vision HQ.

  • 147 Eric Harms // Feb 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

    My hope is that the decision to cut off the thread will be delayed until I’ve had a chance to reply to post #132 in, say, an hour or so.

  • 148 boohoo // Feb 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

    again brilliant, please tell me you see the irony in that statement. please?

  • 149 Frances Bula // Feb 2, 2013 at 10:43 am

    @Eric. Don’t worry, I don’t cut off threads. I’m just going to start operating to parliamentary rules of debate. Comments calling people “bozos,” “flunkies,” “ignorant,” etc., will be removed. I’d like to keep the conversation going among the reasonable people here.

  • 150 Mira // Feb 2, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Eric Harms #153
    [Some material removed because it's tiresome.]
    By the way for all of you on this thread, know this, the Twitter account “@SaveKCC” as in SaveKerrisdaleCommunityCentre was suspended following a complain/ reprt from someone from the Vancouver Park Board (or City Hall) Not clear yet, but we’ll find out!
    The popular site operates now under “@SaveKCC2″ as democracy and freedom of speech will always prevail.

    1984… If George Orwell was still alive today!

  • 151 boohoo // Feb 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

    “By the way for all of you on this thread, know this, the Twitter account “@SaveKCC” as in SaveKerrisdaleCommunityCentre was suspended following a complain/ reprt from someone from the Vancouver Park Board (or City Hall) Not clear yet, but we’ll find out!”


  • 152 spartikus // Feb 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Twitter won’t suspend an account just because someone complained – you have to violate their Terms of Service. Usually this is due to spam, but it could also be the account was posting people’s personal information. Home addresses, phone numbers, etc.

    Don’t know what the case is here, but if the U.S. government can’t shut down accounts, the Vancouver Parks Board can’t.

  • 153 Eric Harms // Feb 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

    @Andrew Browne #132, “I think that if you were to start a community centre…today you would never select this fractured model.”
    We have the perfect example already built – Creekside – at Olympic Village (don’t get me started), which is run entirely by Park Board, without an association. Try a price-comparison for programs (zumba, pilates, yoga, spin or?) or facilities (room rentals, fitness etc.). You will notice one glaring fact – in no case is your access there cheaper than at an association-run centre, which leverages other funds primarily for the benefit of it’s patrons. Some efficiency, eh, Andrew?
    “With revenue trapped in these organizations it isn’t being deployed efficiently for the best interests of Vancouver.”
    Andrew, your statement raises a couple of questions: How is the money ‘trapped’, and, who gets to decide how it’s ‘deployed’?
    First, the money isn’t ‘trapped’, even though you (or the present civic administration) can’t get your hands on it; that decision will (in our case) be made in Hastings. We can’t do anything with it, outside of an extremely narrow window of possibility, as defined by Revenue Canada, because we’re a registered charity.

    For sure, we can’t, say, contribute to Park Board’s structural defecit by bailing out other underfunded facilities, in spite of what you (or Aaron, or Constance, or Malcolm, or Penny) seem to wish. We would very quickly lose our charitable status if we were seen as an extension of the civic government. So, decisions remain with our board.

    We aren’t (and shouldn’t be seen as) a quasi-taxation arm of the municipality. We exist to enhance your tax dollar, on a local level. Better put, we concentrate potential, locally.

    At Hastings, we have in excess of $200,000 in ‘trapped’ funds which are committed to capital improvements to your building. These improvements have been put on hold for over eighteen months because of an extremely rocky relationship with our partners, Park Board, and staff. It’s axiomatic – when times are uncertain, husband your resources, and wait. Examples abound and I’ll provide them if the statement provokes controversy.

    I have to ask: Does buying a meal at the Teahouse (say) or a latte at the Blue Parrot in Hillcrest provoke this kind of outrage? Those private enterprises might well be seen as enhanceing the experience of visitors to Stanley Park or Hillcrest, but they also earn a tidy profit for their operators. The difference between those people and your association is that restaurant operators walk away with the profit in their jeans, while associations are compelled to use revenues to give back to the community in which they exist.

    More in under an hour – I’m not used to writing to deadlines!

  • 154 Bill McCreery // Feb 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Eric. Well said once again. Thank you for your informed comments.

  • 155 Morven // Feb 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Eric Harms # 153:

    Well said.

    The trouble behind all this, and it is endemic at City Hall, is that they develop strategies without consultation. They then make decisions, ask for public views and accord the public views about as much significance as buying a box of paper clips.

    They then attack opponents as partisan scribes without really listening to them. Mind you, the provincial and federal governments subscribe to the same atrophied consultation model.

  • 156 Andrew Browne // Feb 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    @ Eric #153

    Thanks for the reply. I want to say that neither of us are wrong or right, and I’m not here to argue and get all worked up. We obviously have different beliefs about how things should work, and that’s fine.

    That being said, I feel like we have a bit of a case of “I’ve got mine, to heck with everyone else” going on here. I believe that the surplus funds generated at the community centre level should be plowed back into the broader Parks system, so that they can be used most efficiently for the broader benefit of all Parks users across Vancouver.

    For example, while community centre X might want to do some optional, nice-to-have upgrades because they have the capital to do so, community centre Y might have a failing roof and mechanical systems that need much more urgent attention.

    The Parks board can’t fund the capital works at the less “successful” community centre, because all the “profits” are, yes, trapped within each community centre. So the overall taxpayers are funding the inefficient deployment of capital and we have created artifical barriers to that money flowing to where it is needed most urgently, and most practically.

    That’s how I feel about it. *shrug*

  • 157 Andrew Browne // Feb 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    @ Eric #153

    The difference between community centre boards and private businesses operating in Parks should be obvious.

    1. Those businesses pay very significant lease amounts to the Parks Board.
    2. Community centre boards receive both a facility for free, AND a large operating subsidy.

    So… I would suggest that if you find the two cases to be similar you ought to maybe look a bit more closely at your position.

  • 158 Silly Season // Feb 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    @Eric Harms.

    You’re doing a terrific job, explaining a somewhat complex situation.

    Which brings me to note that the Park Board message has been quite simple (and accusatpory?):

    ‘It`s all about inequity!’

    If what you are intimating about Park Board-only run facilities is true, perhaps they themselves need to wear two other ‘in” words: ineffective and inefficient.

    It would be ‘in’teresting to have some data comparisons between all the facilities: community association and PB run facilities. Debt, operating costs, recvbles/payables, freelance fitness trainers, staffiing levels/costs, etc.

    Speaking about staffing at Park Board facilities, Paul Faoro, President, CUPE local 15, certainly seems to be very quiet these days.

    Odd, for a guy who usually takes such vociferous interest in Park Board and community centres matters during elctions.

    This is from the Georgia Straight, 2009. I have no idea what happened. Anyone else know?

    Did they lose the jobs, then? Is there an agreement to add more jobs, now? And if finances were so sticky then, aren’t they stickier, today?

  • 159 Morven // Feb 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Will someone answer the question:

    Are the surplus or retained funds held in trust for the CC, the members of the CC or in trust for the city at large. I have asked this several times and no one answers. For whom the funds are held in trust has a lot to do with the outcome.

    If they are held in trust, can they be used for advertising? Trustees just cannot use the cash for any old thing including turning it over to the city manager.

  • 160 Waltyss // Feb 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Morven, clearly, the societies that run programmes at any particular cc own the funds subject to any agreement they have with PB with regard to how funds may be used, limits on the use of the money in CRA regulations relating to charitable organizations and the organizations’ constitution and by laws. I don’t know that the money is in trust any more than your money in your bank account is. Those who have access to the funds do hold them in trust for the society.
    I,for one, have enjoyed and been informed by the respectful discussion between Eric and Andrew. Thank you for keeping the tone civilized even as you disagree.
    Thank you Dave @143 for the information on Dunbar CCA position. I asked when I was there this morning and was told that it will all work out and it will.
    The more I learn about this issue, the more I realize that like most things, it is complex and more grey than black or white.

  • 161 Eric Harms // Feb 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    OK, OK. Under three hours (life interrupts writing sometimes)…

    Further to my reply to @Andrew Browne #132

    “…entrenched Boards..don’t want anything to change….They have their little kingdom and are quite content. To be expected…”
    While dismayed, I’m not surprised that this kind of slur has finally been voiced. I might well infer that I am included as presiding over a ‘little kingdom’, but it’s never been about me, Andrew. Unless you live nearby, I’ll wager that a week ago, you’d never heard my name. And next month, in all likelihood you will have forgotten you’d ever known it. Not only is that OK, it’s as it should be.

    I have a clear conscience; I sleep fine. The people that matter in my life love me back. I enjoy a friendship characterized by mutual respect with many of my neighbours, and have friends scattered across the city. Were I to croak right now at my keyboard, I’d have to say I’m content.

    I certainly don’t serve to raise my profile, and have no great overarching vision (sorry) to impart. I like to say that my one ambition is to have no ambition. So, Andrew, I don’t care what you imply about me.

    I’m confident that the other association Presidents would say much the same, were they reading here. But I have to answer for my predecessors, who are unable to speak the truth to your calumny.

    A shining example is our immediate past-president at Hastings, who hasn’t lived in the neighbourhood since childhood (he’s in his 70s). When his sons were small, they wanted to play hockey. He said he’d support them, but that they weren’t going to play in some ‘sissy’ West Vancouver league (his tongue-in-cheek joke), but would learn the game on the rough and tumble east side of Vancouver. One thing led to another, and the next thing he knew, he was President of the Hastings Minor Hockey league. He was subsequently scouted by another past president (our current Matriarch figure), and has served tirelessly on our board for over 25 years. Imagine the sacrifice in travel time, gas and personal time, not to mention time spent with his wife and family. And, he didn’t do this for his own community, he did it for mine.

    That’s what I call citizenship, Andrew.

    There is a culture on our board that recognizes that our service is custodial, and stretches both ways in time. That is, we have inherited a healthy association from those who have gone before, and are charged with nurturing and sustaining it, so that we can pass it on to those who will follow.

    It’s a special honour to be allowed to preside, given such a tradition. Among those invested with the office, we at Hastings have had businesspeople, a nurse, a teacher, a consultant, a retired bus driver, homemakers of both sexes, an out lesbian mother, and a B.C Supreme Court justice. People from all walks of life, and the expected ethnic representation of our corner of the city – Italian, Chinese, British, U.S., Scandinavian. Guess which one I am? (Hint: as I’m not female, being a lesbian is out)

    Being President has taught me two things:
    – I try to take the office very seriously as per all of the above, and,
    – I try not to take myself too seriously at all.

    Maybe you should get involved, Andrew. Go to your AGM at your centre, get elected. It’s easy. You’d be living the dream then, boy! At our board meetings we have our choice of box juice or brita water and we don’t even have to wash our cup, if we don’t want. All the stale Costco mixed nuts we can grab off the paper plates. We have to serve on at least one committee (program, finance, fitness, youth etc.) so that’s a further time contribution, but every year we get a t-shirt, just like all the other volunteers in the association.

    Quite the little kingdom we’ve got going…

  • 162 Andrew Browne // Feb 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    @ Eric #161

    The mere fact that some people don’t like something isn’t a reason to not do it. And, as a whole, community centre boards I’m sure are relatively content with the status quo. But their responsibility is not to the entirety of Vancouver residents. Their scope is narrow. We should not be surprised that they would oppose this, but we must compare that opposition to their mandate, which is narrow. Combine that with the simple fact that people go unhinged when things change, and yeah, differences of opinion abound.

    Some of the community centre boards have been reacting with a lot of political hyperbole, and others are just keeping their heads down and focusing on their task of running their local. I’m not attacking you, and you’re taking general comments way too personally and ascribing to me a whole lot of negative intent. It is apparent from comments in the media that some boards DO seem to operate as little kingdoms – and to call it a slur is kind of odd. It’s an opinion. You seem to think I meant little kingdom means perks or graft – but what I mean is that some people (and I have seen many times) get a high from their petty power structure. It happens, and those kind of people don’t like being reminded that, actually, the taxpayer owns their building at the end of the day, and that there is another group of people out there who have to make decisions that are for the best of Vancouver residents as a whole, and not just for that community centre.

  • 163 Higgins // Feb 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Gee, Frances @149
    Like “gman” once wrote re. the future of the Neighborhood Engagement Force, only few months ago. All “they” need is for one “citizen” to voice their concerns (in this case LOL, who-else but Waltyss) about the use of language, then another newbie to the blog to second that and poof… comments are disappearing! If you read any comments on this thread that point out at others… it is a complete mess.
    Mira is right at 150 (soon to be who knows what number)… 1984 was way overdue in Vancouver.
    Tell us Frances, what did you do different here than Penny Ballem didn’t do to the City Hall staffers when she imposed her draconian, undemocratic media gag order?
    oops, I may have just deleted my own comment by asking that…

  • 164 Boohoo // Feb 2, 2013 at 3:50 pm


    This is her private blog. She can post, delete, edit as she see fits and there’s not a single thing you or I can do about it. You don’t like that? Don’t post here.

    If you can’t tell the difference between a private blog and a public government, I’ve lost what little hope remained.

  • 165 Higgins // Feb 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Andrew Browne #156
    “Thanks for the reply. I want to say that neither of us are wrong or right ”
    That’s the biggest lie of all.
    No Andrew, the Associations are RIGHT, and you and the Vision-Vancouver-Dominated-Park-Board-City-Hall-Bromley-Ballem are WRONG!
    Eric Harms, thanks for explaining how your association operates and how you manage your funds. keep doing that. Vancouver citizens are going to back you up on that, enough with this wish for centralized control inside the City Hall.
    Vision Vancouver, at all levels of municipal government need to go! Simple as that.
    Again Andrew Browne 162
    “The mere fact that some people don’t like something isn’t a reason to not do it.”
    I’ll like to say to you the same thing that older man said to Trevor Loke a few nights ago “Who … do you think you are?” … but I can’t :-(
    So what you’re saying is if four hundred people gathered in one room against one player for the Vision apparatus, they don’t matter, no reason to bother? You people always know better! Say I’m wrong.
    Another typical condescending comment from a Vision fan, even when faced with well written arguments.
    Why can’t I call this guy names, Frances? :-)

  • 166 Higgins // Feb 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    ha, ha, ha who else… boohoo
    Let me respectfully bring to your attention post Numero 11 by none other but your pal Waltyss.
    Maybe Frances, and I’m just throwing it out there, you should ban the following words too:
    troll… detox (only when it doesn’t work)… hash induced… narcoleptic vision…
    Hypocrisy is a bitch, eh!?

  • 167 IanS // Feb 2, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    @Andrew Browne #162:

    “some people (and I have seen many times) get a high from their petty power structure. It happens, and those kind of people don’t like being reminded that, actually, the taxpayer owns their building at the end of the day, and that there is another group of people out there who have to make decisions that are for the best of Vancouver residents as a whole, and not just for that community centre.”

    Interesting exchange of perspectives here, between you and Eric.

    Eric, if I understand him correctly, sees his involvement as a contribution. He, and others, volunteer a good deal of their time and put a lot of effort into their associations. They give a lot and, in return, want to feel that they’ve made a difference and have had an impact, that they have made their communities better.

    Your seem to see them more as a level of entrenched bureaucracy, trying to hold onto their “little kingdoms” at all costs and contrary to the greater good. (I say that with no negative intent; just my take on your take, if you will.)

    I can see both points of view.

    However, the distinction between the volunteers and just another needless level of bureaucracy lies (IMO, anyway) in the fact that they are volunteers and their involvement adds / creates value. They are not a transaction cost.

    Now, it may be the case, as you suggest, that these little kingdoms, and the royal volunteers which populate them, can be done away with, freeing the trapped funds to be distributed equitably by the Parks Board. However, without the involvement of these volunteers, I suspect (from everything I’ve read about this) that there will be a good deal less money around to redistribute, equitably or not. That will equate to fewer services and higher costs.

    And, I confess, I’m skeptical that all of the funds redirected into gov’t general revenue will be as effectively used as they might be by the individual associations.

  • 168 Andrew Browne // Feb 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    @ IanS #167

    “Your seem to see them more as a level of entrenched bureaucracy, trying to hold onto their “little kingdoms” at all costs and contrary to the greater good.”

    It’s not that the community centres are doing a BAD job, or that all the boards are bad bureaucracy (I don’t think they are), or even that a board who DOES have a president who has little kingdom syndrome is a day to day problem necessarily. Maybe they run a tight ship, and that’s great.

    The only point I’m trying to make is that the individual boards are NOT tasked with figuring out what is the best for the overall Parks and Rec system. It’s not even in their universe. So we shouldn’t be surprised that they haven’t given it much weight compared to the priorities of their particular centre. And that doesn’t make them bad or evil, it’s just the reality of their passionate focus on their local centre. Furthermore, we shouldn’t drop everything and never evaluate how we do business just because some of the community centres don’t want to go there. It’s not that we need to do away with volunteers or local boards, it’s that we need to understand the lens they are seeing things through.

  • 169 Morven // Feb 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    If the Parks Board is so confident of it’s powers, it may as well petition the courts to set aside any decisions made by Community Associations.

    Settle it once and for all.

  • 170 Frances Bula // Feb 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    @Higgins. Because, as you’ll notice, other people manage to make their case without calling people names. How about you learn that skill?

  • 171 Frances Bula // Feb 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    @Higgins. I have deleted a number of posts on both “sides.” I didn’t go back as far as the one(s?) you mention, only far enough to bring the temperature down.

    By the way, I haven’t ever banned anyone completely, but you are getting kind of boring and I’m pondering it. Yes, I can do that. As someone else has pointed out, it is actually my blog, not public government. I’m sure you respect the principles of free enterprise, right?

    In addition, as any number of people who are watching the way that blogs evolve have noted, one of the things that kills interesting, thoughtful discussion is comments like some of those you have posted. Many bloggers who want their blogs to become real forums for discussion and not Lord of the Flies re-enactments are outright banning certain kinds of people and comments because of their negative effect on thousands of other potential commenters. When I’m more peppy, I’ll post the most recent article I read on this subject.

  • 172 gasp // Feb 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    To Andrew Browne:

    Where did this idea of acting “for the City as a whole” come from?

    As public servants, our politicians and civic employees are expected to act in the public interest, ususally defined as:

    Public Interest:
    Something in which the public, the community at large, has some pecuniary interest, or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected. (Black’s Law Dictionary)

    Therefore, it is the public servant’s responsibility to act in the interest of the communities affected by their decisions, not to act in the interest of some ephemeral concept of “the City as a whole”.

    Furthermore, Parks and other lands that the City holds title to are supposed to be held in public trust for the benefit of the communities in which they are located.

    Public Trust:
    A trust is a right of property, real or personal, held by one party for the benefit of another. A public trust is one constituted for the benefit either of the public at large or of some considerable portion of it, answering a particular description. . .(Black’s)

    Many of the parks in this City only became City property AFTER they were handed over to the City by members of the communities in which they are located. It was community members who negotiated directly with developers and landowners to obtain and, in some cases, pay for these amenities. The Parks Board was later tasked with maintaining these parks and facilities for the benefit of those communities, and does not hold them for the purpose of reconstructing them for City Hall’s or Vision’s or anyone else’s benefit!!

  • 173 Eric Harms // Feb 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    @Morven #169,
    I can’t imagine the courts are necessary, except to interpret our Joint Operating Agreement, which (for a legal document) is fairly unambiguous and clear. Like it or not, Park Board is bound by the document it signed, just as we are. The JOA is still in effect until a new one is agreed on.

    As I’ve previously stated, PB senior staff hate our JOA with a passion, because they can’t see a way to permanently get at our funds. They try constantly and sometimes succeed, as in 2010, when they took Hastings to the tune of $42 K.
    Others have similar stories from that year.

    To staff, the associations are like the tired, bad old joke about women – You can’t live with ‘em…

    Last year, Hastings association brought in $206,000 in grants to underwrite programs delivered. These funds were from a variety of agencies, including senior levels of government, and private charitable institutions. As a rule, grants don’t cover the cost of the program they support – they’re not supposed to. Still they remain a major source of funding, but with a big caveat – they are not available to just anybody, and certainly not to a municipality. So, like the old joke, they can’t live without us.

    Well, they can. They just don’t want to. How would they explain to the parents in the Family Drop-In?

    Again, it wouldn’t be necessary to go to the courts. The JOA has an opt-out clause that applies to both parties. Written notice, and after 90 days, the partnership is dissolved. Senior staff have threatened it with some associations, but it hasn’t happened.

    Stay tuned, though.

    For those really interested, PB have called a special meeting to discuss this matter on Monday evening. The latest information I have is 6:30 PM at West End Community Centre, on Denman. A sizable room, but parking’s a b–ch. Use transit, maybe.

  • 174 IanS // Feb 3, 2013 at 6:14 am

    @Andrew Browne #168:

    “It’s not that the community centres are doing a BAD job, or that all the boards are bad bureaucracy…”

    I get that. Your point, as I understand it, is that they are unnecessary and, ultimately, inefficient level when viewed in context of the entire system.

    (As an aside, I think your term “bad bureaucracy” is almost a redundancy.)

    “The only point I’m trying to make is that the individual boards are NOT tasked with figuring out what is the best for the overall Parks and Rec system. ”

    True. As I understand it, they are societies, tasked with administering their particular community centres. These societies are, in turn, populated by members of the community, who are volunteering their time to raised and administer funds for the benefit of their particular community centres.

    “And that doesn’t make them bad or evil, it’s just the reality of their passionate focus on their local centre.”

    It’s more than a “passionate focus” (though I suspect they would like that description). It’s the terms of their society articles.

    “It’s not that we need to do away with volunteers or local boards, it’s that we need to understand the lens they are seeing things through.”

    Well, I think posters like Eric have provided that lens.

    I do agree that there’s no need to do away with the volunteers and local organizations. Unfortunately, if this plan goes through without compromise, I suspect that will likely be the result. It’s not, as has been suggested earlier in this thread, a matter of the volunteers “not getting it”, but the removal of their ability to make a difference.

    I would imagine that the “reward” for participating and volunteering is the ability to make a difference in the community; to have a positive impact. Who wants to volunteer to raise funds which will simply be siphoned off into some gov’t general revenue, maybe to be used for a community centre, or maybe not?

  • 175 Terry M // Feb 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

    My little post is gone!
    Waltyss proposes, another one seconds his motion, and …the only Vision Vancouver/ Penny Ballem approved blog gets the go ahead in self censoring. Oh, mama!
    Then, surprised Vision Park Board members ask themselves ‘why people don’t love usFrances?”

  • 176 Eric Harms // Feb 3, 2013 at 11:56 am

    @IanS, #174,
    You have no idea how moved I am to log on this morning and read your post. It says exactly what I would have and it’s all the better for having come from someone else. All points are spot-on, and it means that others Get It. If I’ve contributed in any way to your understanding, then my efforts have been worth it. Go forth and multiply!

    I want especially to underline what you’ve said regarding what Andrew terms our “passionate focus”. We are indeed constrained by the oath we swear to our associations. It’s not that we’re myopic (more eye analogies), but that we cannot accede to something that would be harmful to the welfare of the association. And it doesn’t mean that we lack a broader perspective, but that, when we’re wearing our Association hat, we are obligated to speak from that commitment.

    Many years ago now, a very wise person remarked to me, “everything is political”. It is my great good fortune that she agreed to marry me. By definition (unless one lives the life of a hermit), virtually all acts are political – how we drive, what we eat, the clothes we wear. Or, even, if we wear clothes. But, let’s not confuse what is political (upper- or lower-case ‘P’, you choose) with what is partisan.

    A perfect example of the issue can be found on this blog. Frances has to cut (or threaten banishment) because of this simple error. Not every aspect of life goes well or not according to how one votes. We don’t have to see NPA conspiracies in the sock drawer. If the newspaper gets soggy on the front porch, it may not be Vision’s fault.

    So it is with work on the local level. Many/most of the people I work with every day have, on a personal level, done some political analysis. It follows that they will have formed some partisan loyalties, which may be confined to Voting Day. Some may have (gasp!) actually joined a party. My personal experience is: It Doesn’t Matter. I have great respect – and, in some cases, fondness – for people I work with from all across the partisan political spectrum.

    Raising funds for the school playground blurs partisan lines. People can argue till they’re blue in the face (and do, here) about social causes of crime, or the efficacy of the present penal system, but getting B&E’d by a crack addict is the same experience, how ever one votes. Gee, maybe we should start a Block Watch…

    Of course, one always runs the risk of being dismissed as parochial or picayune, but it really is quite liberating to work on the local level and contribute in small, incremental ways with the people who share one’s neighbourhood. There’s a wealth of knowledge and energy in the city’s communities that is largely untapped, but successive administrations (while giving lip-service to it) seek to either stifle it, or centralize it.

    Shame, really. I think we’re all the poorer for it.

  • 177 Ms. Jones // Feb 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Eric Harms, hats off to you, Sir!
    I am an old reader of Frances blog. Sometimes red hot opinionated comments are flying to the left and to the right. Unfortunately, I have to say it, Ms. Bula is very partisan… towards Vision Vancouver, and this late “initiative” to “ban words, comments, people” comes at a moment when the wave of a huge disapproval of Vision policies and actions, at all levels is to big to dismiss. Then your astute comments related to this matter opened a big ‘neutrality’ gap, as your persona could not be associated with the “enemies of Vision Vancouver” types on this blog, nooo…
    Then with a little help from the worst possible commenter on this blog, the ‘ban’ rubber stumping was in. One hot, one cold. In a way this is a confirmation of sorts. Vision Vancouver is running on empty. Peace.

  • 178 waltyss // Feb 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    gasp @#172. I suggest that you are defining public interest unduly narrowly. The PB like any other public body is obligated to act in the best interests of the community as a whole. In this case, that is the City of Vancouver. Obviously different people have different definitions of what that may mean and the usual ultimate measure of that is at the ballot box, Again, there are exceptions such as when a councillor or parks or school board member lets personal pecuniary interest get in the way of their responsibility to the community they serve.
    I believe the point that was being made is that while any community centre association is obligated to act in the best interests of their members as may by modified by any operating agreement, that society has with the COV/PB the PB has to act in the best interests of the City as a whole. To my mind at least, this is pretty obvious.
    Most people would agree that the COV/PB have approached this in a particularly ham-fisted way and have been remarkably bad at setting out their concerne (one need only look at Niki Sharma’s attempt to explain or Trevor Loke’s unfortunate tant). However, putting a partisan spin on it is hardly helpful as I understand from some of the posts and other articles, that this is a long standing and ongoing issue with boards of all political stripes. It’s just that the Vision PB was stupid enough (or perhaps it was the City Manager) to take it on and to do so without public consultation and without recognizing the incredible amount of political capital and good will most if not all of the CCA s have built up.
    They appear to have solved one issue: universality of access. And who knows, maybe we needed a good public row to solve it. Often, that is the case.
    For the remaining issue, which is the equity issue, it seems to me that with good faith on all sides, it can be solved in a way that allows the autonomy of each community centre to continue (in most cases, most people seem to agree they are doing a good job and should continue) while also recognizing that the city does own all of the buildings and that some sharing of the “wealth” will have to occur, at least for those CC’s that have fallen behind not because of incompetence or laziness but because their catchment areas simply cannot generate either the money or the volunteers. By the way, Eric, I am not suggesting that Hastings or any of the CC’s are doing anything wrong, but it may be that some areas may be largely composed of immigrants holding down several jobs to stay afloat and without the resulting energy to volunteer. I don’t know even as I do know that the COV/PB approach has been remarkably ill advised. For the CC’s and their members, you guys have certainly gotten their attention (good on you for that) and my only caution would be not to let that get to your heads. In my view, a sort of tax on programmes throughout the system with the money going to subsidize programmes in less fortunate or at least organized areas.
    The irony may be that somewhere like Hastings may be able to offer cheaper programming simply by virtue of large numbers with the irony that the same programming in a poorer areas is more expensive because fewer kids or adults can afford to attend.
    Maybe a mediator is the answer. You guys need someone like Vince Ready the labour mediator.

  • 179 brilliant // Feb 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    @boohoo 148-while you may call or Vision’s dusbanding, where have you ever been critical of their actions? The community centre grab is just the latest in a series of actions where they deliberately flout neighbourhood wishes. Surely the first rule for a civic politician should be respinsive to neighbourhood
    concerns? Hopefully Loke will get kicked to the curb in 2014 for his insulting rant.

  • 180 Morven // Feb 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    The city elects Parks Board Commissioners to oversee the activities of staff and develop strategies to better the citizens of Vancouver.

    hile they entertain input from city hall and city staff, they, not city staff are responsible for the policies and their adherence. That is the delegated model. If it is not, why need PB commissioners at all.

    It so happens that the elected PB representatives delegated some if not all local responsibility to community centre associations who act on behalf of their local community, for good or for bad. There is nothing wrong with revisiting how services are provided, how overall strategies are achieved and making recommendations for change, if needed.

    It needs all the stakeholder to weigh in.

    It needs clarity on who makes the decisions – staff, PB commissioners or Vancouver City elected officials.

    That said, the recent actions of city staff and PB commissioners bear scrutiny.

    At times it seems as if duly elected representatives are deferential to staff. It seems at times as if even they are not the ones developing strategies, even if that is their mandate. It seems at times as if the PB, elected and unelected, has not the slightest idea of stakeholder involvement. I know that is not the case from attending PB meetings.

    This time, they are curiously muted (well many of them).

    My own experience is that the staff engage strenuously in consultation in positioning a 40 foot by 40 foot childrens play area and barely engage the stakeholders in any strategic review.

    They seem to have little feel for the ethics of delegating powers to community associations then wanting to take the powers back at the stroke of a pen.

    There is nothing more disconcerting in public consultation when unpaid volunteers with a passion for their community are disregarded by elected and unelected PB officials.

    My experience in the mining industry is that it needs the wisdom of Solomon to repair fractured credibility. Not impossible but it needs some mea culpas for our esteemed PB commissioners.

  • 181 boohoo // Feb 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I don’t know enough about this debate to really have an informed opinion. Rather than just spout of railing against somebody cause it feels good, I’d rather be informed.

    I’ve called out vision for the Cambie Corridor Plan a number of times, I laugh that it is ‘award winning’. The hyper politicization of Vancouver is bs too, hence my calling for the whole party system to be abolished. There are others I’m sure.

    But when I come on here and read all these asinine posts comparing gregor to stalin, or vision to the nazi propagandists or flat out calling the residents of vancouver stupid, I guess I get my back up about the level of ignorance in those comments.

  • 182 Eric Harms // Feb 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

    @boohoo #181,
    If you ‘don’t know enough about this debate to really have an informed opinion’, what would it take? Amidst all the stridency, there have been reasoned posts pro and con. If you go through my posts, you will see that I’ve been careful to avoid putting a party in my crosshairs. That’s because I think that people should be concerned because it’s bad policy, not because of which way their vote goes.

    To learn more, and express your opinion to elected officials, please go to

  • 183 boohoo // Feb 4, 2013 at 10:53 am


    This thread has provided a lot of good information–going into this issue, I didn’t even know it was an issue. But I’m not comfortable basing my opinion on the comment section of a blog. The information is valuable, but I take it all with a grain of salt.

    Since I don’t really have a horse in this race, I’m not passionate either way, I can see both sides of the argument. And like 99% of these kinds of things, the reasonable solution lies somewhere in the middle.

    What I find disconcerting, and thanks for the link to that website, is exactly what’s on it. ‘The threat’ is one of the drop downs. That’s just scare tactics. Your list of things City Hall wants to do…well, again, it’s just meant to drum up fear.

    So, while I’m skeptical of the park boards motives, seeing webpages like that irks me because it doesn’t further the discussion, it doesn’t make conversation possible. It just creates ‘us vs them’ which of course leads us nowhere. At this point, it’s irrelevant which course of action is taken–if the park board pushes it through, it’s big government dictating how to run our lives etc etc. If the park board does not, it’s the people standing up and fighting off the big scary government etc… Neither of those builds any foundation for anything positive moving forward. It just sets the stage for the next ‘fight’ on whatever issue comes up next.

    For me this is just a small example of the bigger public consultation issue. Clearly the entire system is broken. For good or bad, for whoever’s fault, it’s broken. For me, figuring that out is the real issue.

  • 184 Michelle // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Eric Harms #182
    Well said. And not only that, all your comments on this thread was pure information. And what I got from that is clear like daylight the present municipal party in power and their handpicked goons are not suitable for office. “Power grab” is a very mild way to put it, is more like a thirst for more power and money. What’s also interesting is boohoo spin around the matter, even after so much material being thrown back and forth in here, he says he don’t quite understands it enough to make an opinion, LOL! Talk about changing the subject. Ta da.

  • 185 Andrew Browne // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:12 am

    This speaks volumes about how surplus funds are, again yes, “trapped” in the associations and not available to be deployed for the most efficient use of capital.

  • 186 boohoo // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:24 am


    I’m not a politician, I’m not ‘spinning’ anything. If you don’t believe me/like what I’m saying/think I’m lying, feel free to ignore me.

  • 187 waltyss // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

    With some effort, the heat had been reduced and a respectful discussion was occurring. And then you came on. How does calling someone, anyone “handpicked goons” advance anything.
    The COV/PB approach has been less than ideal but there is a real issue here. It seems that almost everyone of good will acknowledges it, including Eric.
    One issue it appears has been solved: universality of access. And it was a real issue. Some community centres were denying access. I have always considered it strange that I had to purchase a membership at each community centre even though they are all owned by the city.
    However, maybe even because of this blowup, that issue appears to have been solved.
    What remains outstanding is the issue of the divsion of excess funds. The approach of the COV/PB has been illadvised but some of the verbiage from the 6 CC’s that have banded together has been a bit extreme (sort of like your language). 15 community centres are quietly involved in trying to resolve this. While I think the actions of the 6 in going public have helped immensely, I also think this matter will be resolved.
    While I have great respect for Eric’s comments, they were hardly “pure information”. There was spin which is interpretation of facts and selectively choosing facts. That is not criticism but what debate usually consists of.
    What it does not usually consist of is namecalling. For that, I refer you to the article posted by Frances on the other thread.

  • 188 Michelle // Feb 4, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Andrew Browne 185
    What a joke. Stepan vdovine or whoever put that cheese graph together don’t even know how to do math… %! Apparently, for the Vision Vancouver account Executive, 99% + 2% = 100%
    Now it figures why they have problems with money!

  • 189 waltyss // Feb 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Michelle @188. In any kind of graph or number crunching, percentages will commonly not add up to 100% usually because of rounding. Hardly an error.
    But, Michelle, let’s humour you and assume that it is an error in adding. Are you disputing that the difference in contributions between the PB and Community Centres is approximately 50-1. If so, have you got any facts to back your position up or is it your position that is the joke.
    And by the way, they are usually called pie charts.

  • 190 Terry M // Feb 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    There comes Waltyss 187 Just like they said in USA, first they take our guns, then they take our liberties. Don’t know what you found so appalling with Michelle’s post. Take a break please!
    Andrew 185
    Posting that tweet was arrogant of you and foolish as per Michelle pointed out in 186 is wrong. No math skills in this Stepan executive ! LMAO!
    So, there could be a future in 2014 after all for Trevor Loke … Vision Vancouver executive is always looking to recruit from within their failed candidates.

  • 191 Andrew Browne // Feb 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Rounding and/or typographic errors aside, does anyone have anything to say about the substance of that slide? Whether its 99 and 1 or 98 and 2 is kind of beside the point.

    I don’t know why I bother here sometimes. I must just enjoy hearing about how arrogant and foolish I am. ;) Love you too.

  • 192 IanS // Feb 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    @Andrew Browne #191:

    You, sir, are arrogant and foolish! ;)

    But seriously, how does that slide speak to any funds being “trapped”? If accurate, the chart seems to suggest that the funds raised by the various associations are insignificant, in the grand scheme of things.

    Also, the chart says nothing about the “efficient” use of the funds.

  • 193 Eric Harms // Feb 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    All the slide says (and it’s taken out of context, but that’s another story)…all it says is that for new facilities, the vast bulk is paid for with tax dollars.

    Honestly? Can anyone be surprised at that statement? New community centres run about $27 Mil give or take. Who has that kind of cash – ‘trapped’ or not – lying around?

  • 194 Glissando Remmy // Feb 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Thought of The Day

    “It ain’t over till the Vision City Manager sings, or something like that…”

    So now, we have lower ranked Vision Vancouver “Stepans”, tweeting away chocolate cake propaganda, charts with no substance, and badly done on top of that!
    Glad that others, ahead of me, caught the obvious attempt to further diminish and dismiss the efforts put together by these small CC societies. How despicable!

    And how come, a Vision operative brings it up to the “public’s” attention when the word is, ahem, it’s all a Park Board problem, with no Party or City Hall involvement what-so-ever.

    Going back to that chart.
    I have no choice but to back up Eric Harms #193, on this one.
    Really, Stepan? Don’t you think that staying in school and passing Math 6 would have been a better use of your time and resources, instead of becoming another dozen a dime political activist?

    Andrew Browne… #185 #191
    “He shoots, he misses!”
    Liked your attempt at spin, sorry it blew in your face!
    But hey, put aside the obvious mathematical errors, why is the city so keen to go after 1-2% of that bucket-full, when according to Ballem it only amounts to a mere “drop in a bucket”, eh?
    Try again next time.

    Waltyss #189
    Perhaps Michelle in #188 may have refereed to that pie chart as “cheese graph” because it stinks. We’ll have to ask her.
    You never fail to amuse me.
    “In any kind of graph or number crunching, percentages will commonly not add up to 100% usually because of rounding. Hardly an error.”‘

    Here’s an example:

    Do not mistake the “Billing” classes they teach in Law School with… “Math”. Not the same.
    Everybody knows that in their textbooks an hour has 50 min, and a working day has 27 hours, sooo… :-)

    Till next billing cycle…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 195 waltyss // Feb 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    @Eric Harms #193. The point being made (and I would like to hear your response) is that the PB provides the vast majority of the capital and provides it free of charge to the community centre societies to operate and put on programems. Being as that is so, what is wrong with the PB taking some of that income to redistribute to those centres who are unable to bring in the same type of income and hence mount the same kinds of programmes?

  • 196 waltyss // Feb 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Ah, Glissy, since I so amuse you: I guess you must have been spending too much time sneaking out of the old math class for a few tokes of the old h. If you round 98.4% and 2.6% to whole integers, you get 98% + 3%. An error?
    Oh well, when actually in class and not comatose, you were more focussed on Stalin and the gulag.

  • 197 ThinkOutsideABox // Feb 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    The pie chart link up above from Vision Vancouver Executive Director Stepan Vdovine above exemplifies “Contributions to Major Facility Renewal”. I’m not certain how that “Major Facility Renewal” amount is indicative of “trapped capital”, or that it represents funds “to operate and put on programmes”.

    It appears people are extrapolating meaning out of what isn’t being demonstrated on that chart and I’d suggest people be careful with how information is being parsed.

    I’m reminded of the casino rezoning at BC place with the election promise of no casino expansion while Vision Vancouver is in office – doesn’t mean the rezoning proposal for the new casino there with more floor space won’t go through, but it might just mean no additional slot machines and card tables etc. than what’s at Edgewater already, thus no “expansion”.

  • 198 ThinkOutsideABox // Feb 4, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    To further underscore my point, some live tweets from Emily Jackson ( at the park board meeting tonight are pointing to inaccuracies in the park board’s report:

    “West End community association president says that they DO accept the low income access card, contrary to @parkboard report. #vanpoli”

    “Renfrew parks association notes that they spend $627K on capital improvements, but @ParkBoard presentations says it contributed $50K”

    I think trust is in order to bring the public and parties on board – and to engender trust, facts need to be presented, not misleading representations.

  • 199 jenables // Feb 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    has everyone forgotten where ALL of the money comes from? ” the PB provides the vast majority of the capital and provides it free of charge to the community centre societies to operate and put on programems.” actually, the people and businesses provide the vast majority of capital regardless of what level of government it comes from. I’m begging you not to forget that the city and parks board work for the people, not the other way around. the less people that are able to control that capital, increases the risk of it being misused. absolute power corrupts absolutely, so why risk it? last time I checked we had more pressing problems to address, so why are they focusing their energies here?

  • 200 Morven // Feb 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Jenables 199

    “the city and parks board work for the people”

    Do they?

    You seem to suggest we should be deferential to the city and it’s officials which neatly summarises the CC conflict

  • 201 gman // Feb 5, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I have never seen such a bunch of arrogant f..ks as I witnessed at the meeting last night!!!!
    Way to go Vision!!!!!!

  • 202 Eric Harms // Feb 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

    @waltyss #193
    “…PB provides the vast majority of the capital…to the community cente societies to operate and put on programems (sic)”
    I think you’re conflating budgets. It’s already established: Taxpayers fund major capital expenditures – but NOT to completion, because the boffins always (always) underfund replacement of the facilities.

    Let me illustrate. Two years ago, Hastings was being considered for replacement, so we and PB entered into an intensive planning exercise with a local architectural firm. In the plan, the centre went from our current 37,500 sq. feet to 30,000 sq. feet, which is what is currently held to be the Ideal, regardless of current or forseeable need. The anticipated space allocated to our preschool meant we would go from having the capacity to accommodate 100 children to forty.

    You see our dilemma. We would either have to face the parents of sixty kids and tell them that they’d lost out to austerity, or we would have to un’trap’ enough to cover the difference. Good thing we have the dosh, innit? Mind you, after that, we’d be bouncing two nickels together, trying to get them to mate…

    In terms of operating expenses for the centres (including building upgrades/upkeep) associations system-wide already account for 55% of costs. Reasonable people will conclude that we already pay our fair share of the cost, but we’ve repeatedly attempted to steer the conversation to a new cost-sharing agreement that would see significant amounts of PB’s annual community centre operating budget being freed up (not ‘trapped’, Andrew!) to be applied to the ‘have-nots’, without grabbing the revenue.

    “…what is wrong with the PB taking some of that income to redistribute…”
    See my comments above about reasonable people – there are none so blind as those who will not see. I’ve twice corrected this mistake (once with Chris Keam, and once with Frances). What PB has now passed is an agreement (how can and agreement include only one party?) that anticipates stripping all of the revenue. Not ‘some’ of it.

    ALL. Of. It.

    There’s no way to soft-peddle all.

  • 203 Glissando Remmy // Feb 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Thought of The Morning

    “Bolshevism is alive and kicking in Vancouver… courtesy to Vision Vancouver and Vision dominated Park Board.”

    This is the story:

    What the story doesn’t say is how the vote was taken in the early hours of the morning, cca.3:00 AM, how the Vision Vancouver hacks called the Vancouver Police as an intimidation tool against the most vocal seniors, yes… seniors, how the Vision members on the Park Board were in continuous chat with the present Vision Vancouver Executive.

    They stood there for 9 hours listening to speaker after speaker, pretending to care, when in fact their minds were pretty made up.
    Disgusting really.

    Here’s Vancouver’s 14% choice …aaron jasper… constance barnes…
    sarah blythe… niki sharma… trevor loke…

    In other news, Assholeism have reached new levels in the city by the sea, ocean, whatever…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 204 waltyss // Feb 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

    The document the PB General Manager handed out last night, notwithstanding its errors, also seemed to require a sort of super group made up of CCA’s. Would they decide the programming or only what to do with any surplus.
    Sharma, ever the good soldier, on the CBC this morning was still saying they are going to negotiate.
    Again, my pea brain is having trouble deciphering what they are going to negotiate.
    I was one of the people standing outside the venue last night because the room was packed. I did not think think either side of the Park Board Commissioners acquitted themselves all that well at least until 9 pm when I left.
    What is particularly troublesome to me is that Vision is rushing a plan through that significantly risks undermining local control and involvement for no clear purpose.
    The Manager’s slide show said it wasn’t about the money. Well, sure as shootin’, it was all about the money.

  • 205 rf // Feb 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I’m pretty confident my mother rolled over in her grave last night.

    Volunteers have been advised that their efforts to gather input from their community and solicit donations to their local community association are going to be overseen and decided by the Vision Parks Board ‘Senate’.

    Volunteers will now be forced to “lobby” to the political masters of the day for funds.

    How can they raise funds for a project in the second half of a 3-year election cycle? They can only lobby. They would not be able to know if the funds they raise will even be available to them. The fund raising will basically get skimmed by politicians.

    It’s just so wrong.

    The volunteers for the ‘have’s” will simply quit. They might as well dedicate their time and efforts to politics instead of their community.
    Politicking will be the only way to reverse this decision.

    This argument that it’s going to redistribute some equality?

    The pool of funds will shrink.

    If the so called have’s had been asked, “hey, how would you feel about ‘adopting’ and less prosperous community association in town and direct some funds their way in consultation with their community association about an absent need?”

    I honestly believe they would say “Yes, let’s keep the politicians out of it. Good idea.”

    The approach and result of last night’s meeting has got to rip the heart out of a lot of volunteers.

  • 206 Morven // Feb 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    The key message that I take from this disaster is that we no longer have any need for a Parks Board.

    The elected PB representatives continually fail to address the public interest and do not seem to have any oversight of staff or participate in developing policies.

    A new model is needed.

  • 207 PW // Feb 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    While this might not be about the money, the money will certainly come in handy.

    But what happens when that money is gone? It won’t take long.

    I don’t understand how cc’s will be able to raise funds if they do not receive the benefits. Why would they bother? People already pay taxes. Why would they voluntarily contribute more if it is just going into the system?

  • 208 boohoo // Feb 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    “I don’t understand how cc’s will be able to raise funds if they do not receive the benefits. Why would they bother? People already pay taxes. Why would they voluntarily contribute more if it is just going into the system?”

    This and similar comments strike me as odd. Isn’t the point of volunteering to volunteer and not expect something in return? Who cares if your actions go to help someone in Killarny or Kerrisdale or Kensington?

    When I volunteer for an organization that doesn’t have a home neighbourhood or area, my time and effort gets put into helping people or whatever the objective is wherever the objective is. If I only wanted to help if I knew it was directly benefiting my neighbourhood or people I know, then it’s not truly volunteering is it?

    (No, this is not approval of or comment on anything that happened last night so please don’t go there.)

  • 209 PW // Feb 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Well boohoo you are a high-minded and generous sort. Many people do not have your broad vision. They prefer to stay closer to home. And they volunteer their time and money in ways they can appreciate in their communities, however they define that.

    You might not like that and wish they took a more global perspective. But they don’t.

    So, rather than give more to a system they already pay taxes to, some will just not give. And in the future there will be fewer programs and less money.

  • 210 boohoo // Feb 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    “So, rather than give more to a system they already pay taxes to, some will just not give. And in the future there will be fewer programs and less money.”

    But they already give to that system.

  • 211 PW // Feb 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Not as far as they are concerned.

  • 212 IanS // Feb 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @boohoo #208:

    “If I only wanted to help if I knew it was directly benefiting my neighbourhood or people I know, then it’s not truly volunteering is it?”

    Not sure if I follow your thought process here. How is volunteering for a particular cause, even if you have connections with that cause, not volunteering?

    Speaking to your more general point, perhaps I’m not as enlightened as some, but I would think it easier to find volunteers to raise funds for a local daycare (by way of example) than to raise funds for the Park Board general revenue.

  • 213 Norman // Feb 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Democracy Vision-style. Next year we can teach them how it really works.

  • 214 boohoo // Feb 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm


    I suppose it would be easier yes, I guess I look at it as volunteering for your City and not your neighbourhood.

    Just like volunteering for any other group isn’t necessarily for one specific reason or event, but rather a belief in the big picture cause. To further that, I’m talking about ‘repeat’ volunteers, not one offs for a specific event. Of course, one off volunteers are there for that one thing and are interested in seeing their efforts go towards that one thing.

  • 215 IanS // Feb 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Well, happily (or unhappily, depending on how you look at it), we won’t be needing to speculate on this much longer, as we will soon see how this change will affect the associations and their volunteers.

    I’m hoping that Eric and others involved will provide updates, as matters develop.

  • 216 brilliant // Feb 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    @boohoo 214-why would a volunteer donate time or money directly to the PB when it might end up going to farces like the $60,000 Poodle on a Pedestal at Main and 18th?

    Like a thief in the night, Nikki “the sham” Sharma presided over a 3:30 am holdup.

  • 217 teririch // Feb 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I read your column Frances – well measured, thank you.

    And onto the comments posted following your article …. this one struck me ‘funny’ – an interesting ‘take’ to say the least.

    I always love when (obvious)Visionistas tell us ‘Change is coming’ – very ‘unionist, NDP’ in terminology…
    And it makes me wonder about, what else is going on in the foreground that we aren’t quite clear on ….yet.
    Like referencing changes to boards and how community centres are manned. It makes me thinks that CUPE just got the ‘cha-ching’ with this latest Vision PB push thru.

    The Vision PB members can try all they like to say this in not a ‘cash grab’, but it is. That and another power grab – control.

  • 218 Boohoo // Feb 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm


    You could make that argument for any voluntary donation or effort. Just because my donation *might* go to something I personally don’t like doesn’t mean I’m going to stop volunteering for that group ever again. Why would it?

  • 219 spartikus // Feb 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I always love when (obvious)Visionistas tell us ‘Change is coming’ – very ‘unionist, NDP’ in terminology…


  • 220 waltyss // Feb 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    @aterrich#219. I am opposed to the steps the PB has taken but as I listen to some of the ridiculous comments by my fellow travellers I am starting to wonder about my position.
    Because you are for change, you are a “unionist, NDP” er? Like the American President, for example?
    But even if someone saying that is a member of a union or an NDP supporter (this covers 46% of registered voters), are they not entitled to have a position. You may say that well, their views are predictable. But, you know what, that is particularly true of your expressions: according to you anyone who is a member of a union or an NDP supporter is not entitled to speak or is by virtue of that fact, wrong.
    And teririch, what do you say about the contribution by the NPA troll at #203. I guess that is the opposite: a classy free enterprise NPA contribution.
    A friend of mine who is opposed to abortion for religious reasons once told me that the only thing that could make her pro choice was listening to her fellow anti-abortionists. I am feeling the same way even as I continue to believe that the Vision board made a major and remarkably ill advised move last night.

  • 221 Silly Season // Feb 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    @waltyss #220

    I think you’re being a bit hard on @teririch.

    I too am speculating on where the money will go–and if more union staff will be hired—to replace volunteer positions?

    As I mentioned way up high on this thread, not a peep on this report or the cc associations from CUPE Local 15 Prez, Paul Faoro. Who was very vocal and ever present at Park Board all candidates meetings during the last 2 civic elections.

    I am curious – since, in 2009, he was screaming about proposed union staff layoffs—at PB run cc facilities. Did that happen? And if it did, how did it affect operations? Is now, then, the time to add more union staff? Why? And with what money? Hmmm.

    I really don’t know if staffing levels at PB run facilities have fallen/risen? Anyone know?

    Here’s what struck me about the money ‘thing’—once PB gets it’s hands on it, it will go to where they want it to go. In other words, it can’t but help ‘go political’ (regardless of which party is in power).

    So, if you want to ‘add services/programs’ —as PB GM Malcolm Bromley stated they wanted to do—does that include new, union hires? That cost may perhaps be an important distinction in way PB run vs Association run facilities? And, would they be replacing volunteers—or non-union staff?

    BTW, wish I’d known you were at the meeting. I too was standing outside, in the hallway.

    Ah, two ships passing, in that very lonnnnnnnnnng night… ;-)

  • 222 Higgins // Feb 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I’m disgusted by what happened last night. I wasn’t there, but I read about. ALL Vision commissioners are nothing but a bunch of heartless lying, hypocrite thugs. they could have simply saved us the drama and rubber stamp it last month in Penny Ballem’s office.
    If anyone on this thread dares to tell me that Vision Vancouver is a nice, caring, democratic party, I’ll have to break Frances ‘bad words’ gag order and tell them my take on that…
    Ok, who’s first?

  • 223 waltyss // Feb 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    @Silly Season When at 9 pm they had not gotten to the 10th speaker and my meter had run out, and work in the morning was beckoning, I decided to leave.
    A CUPE rep was on the speaker’s list but the person spoke after I left.
    I don’t know if Faoro was “screaming” in 2009 about staff cuts. He did allege that the City had violated the Labour Code by not giving proper notice of cuts and negotiating either the cuts or severance or the like. I am unaware of any décision that was rendered but I expect that the City and CUPE negotiated something.
    While as I have said, I think this was an ill advised move whose implications are unknown, I very much doubt it is to create more union jobs. That would lead to programme cuts and that is not where I think they want to go.

  • 224 Silly Season // Feb 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm


    They had free ‘event’ parking under the wecc for the PB meeting. I just stumbled on it, by accident. This might be ironic on several levesls…

    today, I think Adrienne Carr called for some kind of accounting of where funds would go (a motion she will bring at City Hall?). I too, was becoming zoned out, after hours at the community centre.

    So, we shall see, we shall see. Perhaps, it was all a dream…

  • 225 Terry M // Feb 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    It seems that no one is interested in any other post than this one!
    Higgi baby @222 second you on that 100%!
    Waltyss… 220
    “And teririch, what do you say about the contribution by the NPA troll at #203. I guess that is the opposite: a classy free enterprise NPA contribution.”
    You are the biggest troll of all, Waltyss, NPA, Vision, COPE, you name it…
    What happened Frances? “Troll” is not on your banned words list?

  • 226 teririch // Feb 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    @Silly Season #221:

    My ‘conspiracy theory’ or outline thereof…

    I am going to throw this into the ring….

    Last year, PB Commish Sarah Blyth was ‘suggesting’ the CC s be made open to the ‘homeless’ for showering and toiletry purposes.

    Vision wants to ‘solve’ homeless by 2015 (either homeless or the revised street homeless).

    Services for the homeless get rolled into the CC’s in some form or another and under some sort of mandate – letting go of some of the HEAT shelters which find it hard to secure space- yet employing CUPE staffers and retaining some fundraising efforts.

    It was interesting seeing some of the early ‘pro’ speakers at the PB meeting – knowing their background and what they are pushing / advocating for. #DTES

    So… the ball is into everybody’s court…

    After all as we have been told by the Visonistas…’Change is coming’…..

  • 227 teririch // Feb 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @Spartikus #219;

    No worries. We all know what side your bread is buttered on.

  • 228 teririch // Feb 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm


    And one more thing.

    From the taxpayers funding your lifestyle and retirement…. You are welcome.

  • 229 waltyss // Feb 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    @Spartikus #219: Methinks that teri the rich doesn’t have a sense of humour. Even as she seems to think that “change” is a left wing, unionist, NDP word (ie. bad, according to the rich), she fails to see that it is used by such commies as Obama (actually she probably thinks he is a commie) and her own beloved NPA.
    Come on, teri, lighten up. I’m sure the NPA troll can put up a You tube link to Lois Armstrong singing “What a wonderful world”. Or is the word ” world” too left wing for you. Kind of commise you know, world domination, world socialist league, that kind of stuff.

    And you know what, it really is.

  • 230 teririch // Feb 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    @Waltysss #229:

    Tell me again what the NDP Layton slogan was again…? And if you want to point to Obama with the ‘Change is coming’ tag line….

    And let up on the troll bit. You have no more right to point that finger at anyone lest you look in the mirror and point it at yourself.

    Just saying.

  • 231 Glissando Remmy // Feb 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Thought of The Night

    I hurriedly went to see which NPA troll was Waltyss talking about in his remarkable 220.
    Me? Awww…

    “Well, ain’t that nice!?”

    What a sweet Piece of Strudel you are my dearest.
    Tell me, what exactly did I say wrong? Too much? Exaggerating? What?

    Calling me an NPA troll?
    Again, and again, and again.
    No problemo! Thank you!
    Drink up!

    I have a confession to make though.
    I already know that your neighborhood is full of Asphalt Holes. Damn City Hall! But in all fairness, nice people walking by, some looking like Jerry Kiss, proudly wearing organic cotton or even hemp T-shirts from FrenchConnectionUK. You!?
    What do you like to wear?
    Who’s to say you are not one of them hipsters, eh?

    Nice catching up with you.
    Now, you take care.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 232 Glissando Remmy // Feb 5, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Thought of The Night

    I hurriedly went to see which NPA troll was Waltyss talking about in his remarkable 220.
    Me? Awww…

    “Well, ain’t that nice!?”

    What a sweet Piece of Strudel you are my dearest.
    Tell me, what exactly did I say wrong? Too much? Exaggerating? What?

    Calling me an NPA troll?
    Again, and again, and again.
    No problemo! Thank you!
    Drink up!

    I have a confession to make though.
    I already know that your neighborhood is full of Asphalt Holes. Damn City Hall! But in all fairness, nice people walking by, some looking like Jerry Kiss, proudly wearing organic cotton or even hemp T-shirts from FrenchConnectionUK. You!?
    What do you like to wear?
    Who’s to say you are not one of them hipsters, eh?

    Nice catching up with you.
    Now, you take care.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 233 jenables // Feb 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    argh, I tried to write this twice already but failed. to morven #200 you actually interpreted my comment completely opposite to what I was trying to say. I do NOT think we should defer to the city. maybe it was my terrible grammar. secondly, boohoo, you have got to be one of the most bitter idealists I’ve come across. please don’t take that the wrong way, I’m not trying to be rude. it’s perfectly ok to want to volunteer your efforts to an association you trust, and it’s also perfectly ok to not trust your civic government, especially when it comes to how they spend our money. it’s actually also ok to want your volunteer time to benefit your neighborhood too. it’s not selfish, and it doesn’t undermine anyone’s contribution if they don’t wish to continue to volunteer under these circumstances. maybe I misunderstood you?

  • 234 boohoo // Feb 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Bitter idealist?

    I’m not bitter–like I said, I don’t actually care about this particular issue all that much. For me it’s the bigger picture issues that this type of thing draws out.

    I agree, you can volunteer to whoever, however you want. But when that volunteering comes with conditions, or threats that you’ll stop volunteering if you don’t like every decision they group makes, well, I find that odd.

    I hate certain pieces of art in the art gallery but that wouldn’t stop me from volunteering/donating to the art gallery because the bigger picture cause is worth it.

    But like I said, my bigger picture issue is the whole process. The he said/she said fight. This is going to happen again, and we’ll have learned nothing from this except neither sides trusts the other. How can we move past that?

  • 235 Mira // Feb 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    boo #233
    ” For me it’s the bigger picture issues that this type of thing draws out.”
    Do you agree that one has to go through hours of arithmetic homework in elementary school before dreaming of becoming a rocket scientists?
    Vision, Ballem, Robertson they all are pretend rocket scientists with no formal education, inside their own spaceship… circumventing the globe, and having no understanding on how they got there. Aliens kidnapping?
    The troubling part … there is no spaceship. It’s all in their minds!

  • 236 boohoo // Feb 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm


    I don’t even…?

  • 237 rf // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Really boohoo?
    So here’s the scenario:

    You’re a volunteer at the Art Gallery.
    A new city council is elected and they decide “forget what the Art Gallery board things” and that the Vancouver Art Gallery will now only specialize in Art involving Genitals.

    The new goal of City Council is to make the Vancouver Art Gallery the world’s greatest exhibition of art exclusively dedicated to Animal and Human genitals.

    No more Emily Carr, No more Fred Herzog, bye bye Ian Wallace. If it features more than genitals, it won’t be displayed.

    Do you still want to volunteer? Or are you going to volunteer at a different art gallery, where the board of that gallery decides what to do, since they know the patrons best?

  • 238 boohoo // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm


    That’s a great scenario. When the Parks Board decides to ban all swimming, gymnastics and other activities supported by the centers and replace them with all abstract genital painting, then your scenario might be relevant.

    This is exactly the kind of ridiculous exaggeration and over the top kind of thing I’m talking about. It gets the discussion nowhere. Just pits us vs them. I guess some people like the fight.

  • 239 rf // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    “forget what the art gallery board “thinks” ” – freudian…

  • 240 waltyss // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    @235. Don’t even bother. The incorrect assumption would be that there is logic in the comment. There isn’t.
    On the volunteering thing, people volunteer for different reasons and with different aims. When I go to a Dunbar Little League baseball game and somebody attempts to sell me a raffle ticket for Dunbar Little League, then I will feel more than a little ripped off if I suddenly find out the raffle ticket if for Vancouver Little League.
    It will almost certainly be the case that people will volunteer at community centres even with centralized control. However, in my view, it will almost certainly be less than what it is now. What particularly burns me about this decision (whatever it may be as we have the unfortunate Ms. Sharma saying that it is something different than the words in the proposal voted on) is that without having any evidence of what the effect would be on the present volunteers, the Vision PB Commissioners blithely voted to centralize.
    There were real issues with passes but those appear to have been solved.
    With regard to the equity issue, and it is a real issue, the correct approach would have been to look at how to remedy it, rather than upend the entire system without regard to what effect it will have on volunteerism and the ability of CCA’s to run programmes responsive to their own neighbourhoods.
    Anyway, I am now waiting to see how negotiations go and remain cautiously optimistic in light of what even a tone deaf PB must realize is a significant outcry.

  • 241 rf // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    What’s ridiculous is your little hollier than thou, world’s most passive volunteer “angle”.

    It honestly seems contrived.
    It’s like your slipping on this thread…and you’ve been pretty good for a while at doing nothing more than posting neutral wishy washy statements for whatever reason ever since your Civic Scene site got shut down.

    Check your seal… might be leaking out.

  • 242 rf // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    nice pun on “blithely” !

  • 243 boohoo // Feb 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Civic scene?

    I don’t know who you think I am, but I’m not the boogey man you (and others…) make me out to be.

    But can you not at least admit this whole thing is poisoned with fault for that falling on both sides?

  • 244 rf // Feb 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I’m not sure I can fault the volunteers that have taken issue with this thing. The entire system just got changed and they had about a week to react.
    And now it’s done.

    How can you fault having concerns and frustrations with that?

    If Vision PB ran on a platform to do this…..I can live with it.
    But they didn’t.

    I agree with the HST..100%…..but I can understand why people went nuts when it came in without pre-election mention.

    People didn’t care about the details and why, nor did they want to trust that it would just work out.

    But that’s what Vision is asking everyone to do…yet they, and you, seem to expect people to react differently.

    Same shoe. Different foot.

  • 245 boohoo // Feb 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm


    Again, I’m talking big picture. Whether it is this or development x, y or z. It’s always a fight. It doesn’t need to be that way and it’s the fault of both sides for letting it get that way.

  • 246 rf // Feb 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    oh Yawn……’ it doesn’t need to be this way…’, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’, “hakuna matata”, “hasa diba egowai”. Good work on getting back to neutral wishy washy.

    The only places left on this planet where there are no public political fights are Cuba and North Korea dude.
    Of course it’s all a fight. It’s call democracy.

    If you are quiet, no one listens and you get run over. “First they came…” etc..

    Like I said at the beginning of this thread. The only thing I like about it is it may actually be a tide turning issue where democracy will make the final decision.

  • 247 boohoo // Feb 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Ok, sure.

    You, as always, take the extreme position to make a straw man and then dismiss my actual point.

    Good job.

  • 248 jenables // Feb 7, 2013 at 12:16 am

    when there is an issue I am interested in, when I am asking myself whose side do I listen to, I tend to look at who is imposing their will on who. ( please don’t retort with ridiculous examples where police who are imposing their will on criminals must be wrong, just think about it)

  • 249 thegeebee // Feb 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    A question:
    Killarney Bingo Hall that was on Pender near Nanaimo Street. I understand that is was sold. Who owned the building and what was the final sale price?

  • 250 lac member // Mar 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    wow this is crazy. All I would like is to use my lac at every cc fitness center.(even those cc fitness centers who currently do not accept the LAC ) I understand the idea is complex but why cant a universal card work for streamlined similar cc fitness facilities in Vancouver?

    The local cc gets the membership fee, the fitness center gets the monthly fee/or divided portion thereof. Why does everything else need to change ?

    One portion of fitness center money would go back into a general revenues of parks board that enables other cc fitness centers acquire more equipment(or whatever they deem necessary to do).

    The other portion, (Each cc fitness center can negotiate a revenue sharing agreement based upon that individual cc involvement with the fitness facility) would remain at the local cc.

    ie one cc association fitness center entirely stocked the center with equipment then perhaps 60+ % of generated income stays within that local cc general revenues to provide local programs deemed worthy by the local volunteer elected cc board.

    If in another cc the parks board funded the entire fitness center then most 60%+ revenue generated would flow back to park board general revenue for fitness centers in other communities.

    Thus no control of cc by parks board is necessary, the local cc gets their share (whatever that maybe), and parks board gets their share to fund other cc fitness centers properly and expand.

    The result; the community is happy that the cc remains based in their own community and are not politicized(at least not more than it is already). In addition, local individual cc involvement is recognised by revenue sharing from fitness centers. Furthermore, local programs stay local. Not to mention parks board get their cut to finance other facilities. FINALLY, MOST IMPORTANTLY, MY LAC CARD WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGHOUT THE CITY YEAH!

    now call me stupid but why cant something like this work or something similar?

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