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Vancouver community centres: one board fighting, a surprise (maybe) move for Aquatic Centre, whales, homeless camps

August 6th, 2014 · 27 Comments

Poor Riley Park Hillcrest community centre — now in the middle of a custody dispute by two boards, one led by Jesse Johl, another led by residents who got fed up with the lack of financial statements, strange new rules for electing board members, and more. They were in court last week and the latest word I had was that they would be back this week to try to resolve who is legally in charge.

In the meantime, the association’s bank account (which at one time in the not too distant past held a quarter million dollars) is frozen and the park board is having to pay the instructors who are technically the employees of the association.

My story here tried to explain some of this. Also had a reference to the out-of-left-field news that the City of Vancouver is considering allowing a new aquatic centre to be built as one of the community amenities on land it plans to sell next to the Granville Bridge. The aquatic centre of is of a long list of amenities the city suggested that developers consider offering, as part of the land purchase, including the Qmunity centre, social housing, and other stuff.

Oddly, no one ran this by the park-board commissioners, but so far the reps from both sides (Vision and NPA) are taking it calmly, saying it’s a chance to see whether there are any potential wins out of any of the developer offers.

As I mentioned in tweets over the past week, I had heard talk the last couple of years about replacing the Aquatic Centre. There was some suggestion, during the planning for Northeast False Creek, that some of the community-amenity contributions from developers go towards that. In the end, Fern Jeffries from the area told me, residents asked for that CAC money to go to parks closer to the area instead.

I had always imagined the new aquatic centre would go in the same general area as the old one — only this time, one would hope, with windows to take advantage of the gorgeous setting. It was a bit of a surprise to hear the city would entertain having it move so far south and east, which would mean 40,000 people from the West End and the 10,000 or so at Coal Harbour would have to trek a bit further, though it would be more convenient for the new Yaletown, Downtown South and Concord residents.



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