Frances Bula header image 2

Message from park board chair Sarah Blyth: No final changes approved, we want a model that “maintains independence of associations”

February 9th, 2013 · 15 Comments

This was posted as a comment on another post. I’ve pulled it up to make sure everyone gets a chance to see it. Some of you who posted comments in response may want to cut and paste those also into here.

I know many of you are concerned about future changes of the Joint Operating Agreements (JOA) between the Park Board and Community Centre Associations.

I hope to answer some of your questions and address some concerns.

At this time, no final changes have been approved by the Board. At the last meeting, we have directed staff to undertake further negotiations with the Community Centre Associations to try to solve the serious issues we have under the existing JOA. At this time, a majority of the CCA’s are going to be sitting down with us to figure out a financial model that will work.
The process of attempting to update the JOA began over ten years ago – as various past Commissioners have tried to work on the issues that the current model has created. For example, some of the items we would like to be able to implement are:
– one pass for all Community Centres in the City;
– an acceptance of the low-income pass on the same terms at every centre across the City;
– some ability to operate more as a network of centres while maintaining local boards to represent their community; and
– some method of sharing costs or redistributing revenue to equalize services at centres much like public schools, libraries, and even ice rinks.
The volunteers who contribute their time at our Community Centres do amazing work. We don’t want that to change. They’re part of what makes our community centres what they are. That’s why after a year of over 50 meetings, we are continuing to negotiate with them over the next few months to reach a fair agreement.
From our discussions to date with CCAs, it appeared that we could not agree on a financial model that would help to equalize the system. How do we figure out a method to share across the system, while maintaining the independence of the Associations? So we decided to continue negotiations with the CCAs to try to agree on a better way forward. I believe that both sides would like a new agreement with principles of access, equity, accountability, and sustainability.
There’s been a lot of misinformation out there. So let’s be clear: Under any new partnership agreement:
– ALL programs and services offered by your community centres will continue.
– Community Centre Associations will still continue to fundraise, and determine local programming.
– NO buildings will be closed down.
– NO equipment will be taken away.
– The money that Community Centre Associations have currently raised – roughly $12 million – will remain with the associations. “Cash grab” claims are completely false.
– we have not made a decision to centralize the system, we made the decision to negotiate with the CCA’s to try to find a financial model that works
We will be having public consultations on this issue and would be happy to let you know when they will be so you can provide us with further input.

If you have any more questions feel free to call me 604 377 9415

Sarah Blyth

Categories: Uncategorized