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Keeping Our Community in Our Community Centre

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Where are we? The Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS) has entered a new phase in an ongoing struggle to maintain community control of our community centre. In January 2014, the BC Supreme Court granted us an injunction preventing the Park Board from terminating the operating agreement which our Society has had since 1979. This injunction imposes a status quo situation that will continue until a legal resolution is achieved.

How did we get here? Since 2010 the Park Board has made concerted efforts to take operational and financial control of community centres across Vancouver. The Park Board has repeatedly violated the legal contract Kerrisdale has to operate our community centre. Our requests for negotiations without pre-conditions have been fruitless. Our society (KCCS), along with five others from across the city, launched a law suit in August 2013 which resulted eventually in the successful January court injunction.

The KCCS has exercised control of the programs and services at our community centre for over 60 years. Local control is essential if our community centre is to continue to address the unique and evolving needs of our residents. Between 1995 and 2002, membership input prompted creation of the fitness room and completion of a 3-stage major renovation of the centre, with more than half the funding coming from the Society. About 30 years ago local voices led to the building of one of Vancouver’s first seniors’ centres.

Membership in your community centre society gives you the right to have a voice in operational decisions at the community centre including the programs and services provided. We do not want to turn over control of our community centre to City bureaucrats. The KCCS wants to maintain that local community input, and to remain responsible management of these facilities providing programs and services and ensuring the financial ability to deliver them.

Modest KCCS membership fees and the program charges cover the costs of delivering these programs and services. They also allow us to improve and upgrade facilities and to renew equipment and furniture within our Centre. Your support makes it possible for Kerrisdale to provide a high level of service and to cover fully 70% of the operating costs of the community centre. The Park Board uses your tax dollars to pay the remaining 30%.

Saved earnings are earmarked for important capital and building projects. The major projects in the coming years will likely be the renewal of the aging Kerrisdale pool and arena, which were themselves largely built by the local community between 1949 and 1955. In the past couple of years the KCCS has installed air conditioning in the seniors’ lounge and replaced worn-out appliances in the seniors’ kitchen. Our current financial model has thus served us well for many years.

Three years ago, while talking about “access,” the Park Board actually reduced Vancouverites’ access to their community centres by cutting community centre staffing a total of 900 hours each year. These cuts were presented as part of efforts to deal with City Council’s reduction of the Park Board budget. Because the KCCS itself pays for most of the staff needed to operate our centre, Kerrisdale was not affected by the reduction of operating hours. Your support and some prudent financial management allowed us to stay open evenings, weekends and holidays while Park Board was forcing other community centres to close. At Kerrisdale, we think community centres should open more than week days during normal business hours.

For over 20 years, our Society has assisted access to programs for people with low incomes. More recently we instituted a policy of granting access to Kerrisdale programs for anyone holding a valid membership card from any other Vancouver community centre. Five other centres currently reciprocate this policy. The KCCS wants to work with the Park Board to improve access and equity for all Vancouver residents, but not at the expense of our ability to provide the programs and services that this community needs.

What does the KCCS want for Kerrisdale?

We are seeking an agreement that ensures ongoing community control of centre operations. This agreement must contain a 3rd party dispute resolution mechanism that will end costly legal proceedings. We want consultation as partners, not ultimatums. Stay tuned. Your support is important.

 

KCCS Board of Directors

 


OneCard-Message to Patrons

September 18, 2013

I am writing to update you on a very important matter. On August 20, 2013, the Kerrisdale Community Centre  Association (KCCS) launched a lawsuit against the Park Board in the BC Supreme Court. In the lawsuit, we ask the Court to intervene and stop the Park Board from continuing to violate our decades old operating agreement.
Let me assure you that we didn’t take this action without a great amount of reflection and discussion. We have dedicated countless volunteer hours over the last several years trying to work with the Park Board in a fair and transparent manner. In response, our volunteers have been ignored; and our role at the centre has been threatened by senior Park Board staff and commissioners.

We are deeply disappointed that these ongoing actions left us with no choice but to pursue legal action. Along with the lawsuit, our group is also asking the Court to grant a pre-emptive injunction to stop the Park Board from unilaterally implementing its OneCard for any Association operated program, service or facility at our centre.

The hearing on this injunction application was heard in BC Supreme Court on September 17-18, 2013. The judge has indicated that a written decision would be handed down in 10 days to two weeks.

Though marketed as “universal access”, the OneCard program is designed to centralize all revenues and decision-making control with the Park Board. Something that our members told us they strongly oppose during our public consultation, which included several public meetings and a citywide survey conducted in February.

The Park Board also wants to invalidate your community centre membership. Rather than giving you a say in how your centre operates, they want to cut the community out of centre operation by removing our ability to use program revenues to fund and subsidize programs tailored to the unique needs of you, our members. We firmly believe that the Park Board is attempting to remove all the existing community centre associations across Vancouver in favour of a centralized model where the Park Board makes all of the decisions and only offers “cookie cutter” programming at the centres.
Our lawyers advise us that if we did not take immediate legal action now we will be irrevocably damaged. This Park Board will be successful and dismantle decades of history and connection between KCCS and its community  through our members. The Park Board’s attempt to do away with this system – one our community built more than 60 years ago– seize control of your program revenues and eliminate your voice is damage from which our community and the centre may not recover.

Astonishingly, Park Board responded to our court action by serving all six associations with eviction notices. The Board is unilaterally ordering all the associations to be out of their community centres by 31 December 2013. This extraordinary, indeed unprecedented, action seeks to end the partnerships that have successfully co-managed Vancouver community centres for more than a half century. In effect, the Board wants to take our local communities out of our community centres– centres that our families and neighbours funded decades ago,

and built with little or no help from the Park Board. To prevent this outcome, our lawyer has filed for an injunction against the cancellation of our Joint Operating Agreement (JOA). The application for this injunction will be heard in the BC Supreme Court on November 18-20, 2013.

Sincerely,

Robert Lockhart, President
Kerrisdale Community Centre Society

 


“My Vancouver Community Centres”

Spokesperson preparation document re: Supreme Court lawsuit
FINAL– approved by editorial committee & reviewed by D. Davison on September 18, 2013

Click here to view the full document with key messages and Q&A (32kb)


Dear Kerrisdale Community Centre Members,

August 21, 2013

I am writing to update you on a very important matter. On August 20, the KCCS launched a lawsuit against the Park Board in BC Supreme Court. In the lawsuit, we ask the Court to intervene and stop the Park Board from continuing to violate our decades old operating agreement.

Let me assure you that we didn’t take this action without a great amount of reflection and discussion. We have dedicated countless volunteer hours over the last several years trying to work with the Park Board in a fair and transparent manner. In response, our volunteers have been ignored and even threatened by senior staff and elected commissioners.

We are deeply disappointed that these ongoing actions left us with no choice but to pursue legal action.

Along with the lawsuit, our group is also asking the Court to grant a pre-emptive injunction to stop the Park Board from unilaterally implementing its OneCard for any association-operated program, service or facility at our centre. Though marketed as “universal access”, the OneCard is designed to centralize all revenues and decision-making control with the Park Board. Something that our members told us they strongly oppose during our public consultation, which included several public meetings and a citywide survey conducted in February.

The Park Board also wants to invalidate your community centre membership. Rather than giving you a say in how your centre operates, they want to cut the community out Kerrisdale Community Centre by removing our ability to fund and subsidize programs tailored to the unique needs of you, our members. We firmly believe that the Park Board is attempting to remove all the existing community centre associations across Vancouver in favour of a centralized model where the Park Board makes all of the decisions and only offers “cookie cutter” programming at the centres.

Our lawyers advise us that if we do not take immediate legal action now we will be irrevocably damaged. Otherwise, this Park Board will be successful and dismantle decades of history and connection between KCCS and its community through our members. The Park Board’s is trying to do away with Vancouver community centre system. Kerrisdale residents built both the community centre and the arena more than fifty-five years ago.  Our centre, in partnership with the Park Board, has operated successfully since that time. Now, the Park Board wants to seize control of centre revenues and eliminate your voice in how it is operated.  Legal action is required to prevent damage from which our community and the centre may not recover.

Sincerely,

Robert Lockhart,
President, Kerrisdale Community Centre Society

 


 

Dear KCC Members

 

June 4, 2013

Recently our Centre’s Supervisor received a letter from Mr. Malcolm Bromley, General Manager of Parks and Recreation, along with instructions to post the letter.  The letter was apparently written as a response to the many letters that patrons have been writing the the Mayor, Councillors, and Park Board Commissioners expressing their concern about loss of services and valued programmes if Park Board takes over the Centre’s operations and revenues, as is the Park Boards’s plan.

In response, I prepared a memo to patrons to post along with Mr. Bromley’s letter. This memo identified some of issues that support our concerns.

When told by our Supervisor that the Society’s memo would be posted alongside Mr. Bromley’s letter, Senior Park Board staff member instructed her not to post the Society’s memo.  We continue to operate under partnership agreement with the Park Board and balanced dialogue is an integral part of that partnership.  However, rather than engaging in a discussion to counter the arguments put forth by the Society, the Park Board has again resorted to bullying tactics with the instruction not to post the Society’s memo.

Mr. Bromley’s letter and the Society’s response have both been posted at the Kerrisdale Community Centre.

They are also attached here

Click to view 

Bromley Kerrisdale Letter May 27, 2013 (PDF 41kb)
-Memo to Members May 27, 2013 (PDF 53kb)

Keep Community in Community Centres!
Sincerely,
Robert Lockhart,
President, Kerrisdale Community Centre Society


Stew Jordan @Kerrisdale CC from aPhoenix Production on Vimeo.

 

Doug Rickson from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Doug has been a member of the Kerrisdale community centre for over 20 years. He is the last speaker of the evening and has a message for Malcolm to take back to City Hall.

— “We’ve got long memories here and there is an election coming up in 18 months and that’s going to be payback time. I’ve got a vision and that vision is the only vision I will see, is the vision of Vision Vancouver in my rear-view mirror. After the next election, they’re going to be road kill”.

 

Diane from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Sitting in the front row at the 3pm meeting, park board representative, Diane acknowledges the great working partnership with KCCS and how important it is for the Society to identify and maintain its own unique and local programs for its community.

She clarifies “the lunch program is critically important and we understand that and with the input of the Society, under the new agreement, that will absolutely continue. The idea is not to have cookie cutter programs at every single community centre, the uniqueness of every neighbourhood and the history of that in Vancouver is critically important.”

 

Darrell Evans from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Darrell has been a member of KCC for about two years. He worked for 20 yrs as a public interest advocate and is “blown away” by how well the community has organised themselves and what concern there is. His question to Malcolm, “was there a vote by the Park Board on this plan?” is answered.

Darrell urges everyone to be prepared for political action if the Park Board does vote for this plan — “Carefully look at the members who vote for it and this should translate into political action to unseat those members who vote for this initiative.”

 

Carol Wiens from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Carol has been a local resident since 1984 and is a past board member and president of Kerrisdale Soccer. “Community” is very important to Carol and this showing tonight, with two overflow rooms, the auditorium plus other people who can’t fit into those rooms, tells her “we are worried!”

Carol challenges everyone to leave their communication information (email address) to stay informed about how you can support this Board. Her second challenge is to ask the current Board, how we can financially help them with lawyers, TV ads, and radio ads. “If everyone was willing to give $20 — we could help them fight this battle!”

 

Frank Tiers from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Frank has a residence that backs onto a park in West Point Grey. He has some interesting examples and observations of wasted taxpayers dollars spent on projects with no real purpose.

He concludes with this advice — ”Anyone who thinks that our Park Board is good at managing resources or the resources that they have already is sadly mistaken and should strongly be opposed to this and, everybody who is run over by this process, if we are run over by it, should be sure NOT to vote VISION again!

 

Alan Featherstonhaugh from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

As former commissioner and chair of the Park Board, Alan is appalled at what he’s seen here today because for the simple reason; that this is an issue that should not have gotten this far. “We should not have protest meetings about something the Park Board wants to do”. He wants answers to his rhetorical question:

Q. Why aren’t Park Board Commissioners up here and why isn’t the Chair of the Park Board up here answering the question?

This is a policy issue; the board and not the staff handle policy issues. “I think it’s totally unacceptable for the commissions to let a bureaucrat have to come up here and defend their issue”!

 

Gloria Huang (et al) from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Gloria goes to the Kerrisdale Community Centre gym on a regular basis. She asks Malcolm: “Mr Bromley, from what I understand of your “proposed” plan, would you agree that Kerrisdale would be losing revenue as a means of funding the ‘have not’ centres and if so, how can you possibly promise that our programs will not be changed?”

Note: Additional comments from Jesse Johl and Robert Lockhart in response to Malcolm included. (apologies to Gloria and Jesse who were obstructed from camera view)

Linda McAdams from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Linda is from an adjacent community, is a taxpayer and is really tired of her taxes going up under Vision Council. She asks Malcolm Bromley: (apologies to Linda who was obstructed from view of the camera)

Q. “How do you propose that you are going to take money from all of the community centres, not change any of their programming and somehow fund the “have not” community centres which I would agree with. I think everybody should have access to the things that we have access to here without costing more money to us – the tax payers?”

 

Jennifer Upsdell from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Jennifer is a resident, mother and instructor in Kerrisdale, teaching Family Life Skills programs at the Community Centre. She has a few questions for Malcolm Bromley, specifically in light of the February 2010 Park Board revelation of a $2.4m deficit in their budget.

Q. “How are you going to manage the revenue that you collect from all community centres and exactly, please in concrete terms, not in vague and absolute terms, where will the Kerrisdale Community Centre revenue be distributed to?”

 

John Adams from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

John Adams is a member of the Kerrisdale Community Centre and speaks for a very important part of our society. In this short video, you will hear Malcolm Bromley’s reply to his question, “Why do you want to take away the small benefits that our Seniors have achieved?”.

 

David Roomy from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

David Roomy has been part of the Kerrisdale Community Centre for over a decade. He inquires from Malcolm Bromley “how community centres can maintain their status quo, particularly in programming, when community looses some control?”.

 

Katherine Deane from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Katherine is a contractor at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. She is concerned about the administrative systems and process of how the city plans to pay its additional contractors, especially in an expedited and efficient manner. Who will Katherine be invoicing if this plan goes ahead?

Malcolm Bromley acknowledges there are failings that the city could improve on but is confident that they have the capacity, no matter which direction they go. NOTE you may need to watch is video more than once!

 

Kathleen Carlsen from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Ms Kathleen has been a Dance Instructor at the Kerrisdale Community Centre for 15yrs. She currently teaches 12 classes in one day with over 200 clients in those classes. Kathleen hopes everybody writes letters, everybody who takes classes, everybody who teaches classes…. EVERYBODY WRITE LETTERS because “we don’t want any changes”!!

 

Isabel Minty from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Over 80yrs ago, Isabel Minty and her older sister use to attend dance classes with Ms Grace Goddard at the Kerrisdale Community Centre. As one of the last speaker of the evening, Ms Minty delivers the most passionate and eloquent speech on how communities are being given a “hose job”. It will surely bring you to your feet!

 

Dr. V. Setty Pendakur from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Mr Pendakur has lived in Kerrisdale for 36yrs and as a former member of the Council, recalls how three quarters of the community centre, street lights and changes to the water system were paid for by local improvement taxes.

Setty’s common sense approach regarding the Park Boards plans receives some of the loudest applause of the evening, especially with this most memorable phrase….”So, if you have two light bulbs in your house, one of them is not working, one of them is working very well, DON’T REPLACE BOTH OF THEM!”

 

Melissa De Genova from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Melissa De Genova is a Commissioner on the Park Board. At the 7pm public meeting held at the Kerrisdale Community Centre, Melissa, along with fellow staff members witnessed firsthand, the public outcry towards the proposed changes outlined by the Park Board. “I’m hoping this sends a message back to the Park Board” she said, “there hasn’t been an issue that has had so many people come out in a long time. After hearing you because that’s what really influences my decision (I’m not in anyone’s pocket) but after hearing that this isn’t what Community Centre Associations want, I beg my colleagues to come back to the table”.

 

Adriane Carr from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Adriane Carr is a politician with the Green Party in British Columbia and is also a Councillor on Vancouver City Council. At the 3pm KCC Public Meeting on 29 January, she exclaimed that she is so glad she came to listen to the people in this local community, because it has given her an opportunity to move this forward as a city council issue.

“You have explained that there could well be a change in programming in terms of loss of funds from the revenues that you now collect and put into for example, your Seniors Lunch and my concern is will that end up in the bigger city budget. That is a pure and simple reason why I think city council should look at this issue and I’m prepared to put that forward as a motion to the city council table… and just watch to see if they disallow it!”

 

Robert Lockhart @7pm from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Listen to a fired up Robert Lockhart, Vice President of Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS) speak for the second time in a day, at the 7pm session of KCC Public Meeting on 29 January. There are no slides this time, just an impassioned plea for citizens to keep partitioning City Hall and the Park Board to facilitate open dialogue and not reduce the current community association operating models to the lowest common denominator.

Robert closes his 21min speech by stating, “We want to inform the public, not only Kerrisdale public, but the City public and let them know that there’s a scam going on. The city is trying to get a cash grab that we will have no control of the money, we will have no control of the investments back into our community centres and that we don’t want it to happen!”

 

Malcolm Bromley from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Malcolm Bromley is the General Manager of the Park Board. He has finally arrived in Kerrisdale on Tuesday, 29 January to deliver “A Better Way Forward” to the citizens and board member of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society. Malcolm presents the Park Board’s opinions and views in a condensed (15 min) slideshow presentation that he has given to every other committee association.

He appreciates this is a significant idea and change planned for community associations across Vancouver, but stresses that Park Board are still continuing to have dialogue with 15 or 16 of the associations, including Kerrisdale to take a look at other options and other ways forward.

 

Robert Lockhart @3pm from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Robert Lockhart is the Vice President of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society. At the 3pm KCC Public Meeting on 29 January, he brings the packed auditorium of mostly Seniors up to date on a scenario he sees is possible if the plan that has been presented by Park Board staff goes ahead.

He opens with a historical account of how the Kerrisdale Community Centre was originally formed in the 1940’s to its successful operations today. And, contrary to Park Board reports, Robert presents in slides and in logical explanation, how Kerrisdale stands as proof that “the system is not broken”.

Q. How will Park Board’s plan to implement core programming or “cookie cutter” programs across the city impact your community? Each committee has grown up building programs that meet the needs of their community. Can this “one-size-fits-all” approach meet your needs?

 

Jesse Johl from Alison Fung on Vimeo.

Jesse Johl is the President of Hillcrest Community Centre and is glad to see his own senior citizens present at the public meeting at Kerrisdale Community Centre. Jesse forewarns the packed auditorium and over-flow rooms of what could happen if the Park Board gets full control and gets to implement any plan they feel like implementing on a whim. He knows, because it happened at Riley Park!

Q. Are you willing to “Take a trip together with the Park Board and see where you’re going to land”?


Letter by Dennis Healey

 

Hi Ms De Genova

Thank you for your e-mail alerting me to the meeting this evening at the West End Community Centre.  I am afraid that it is too far away for me to attend, but I did attend the meeting at the Kerrisdale Community center last Tuesday to show my opposition to the changes proposed by the Vision members of the Parks Board.  So I will depend on you and your associate John Coupar to voice my opposition to the Parks Board plans with respect to taking over the finances of the presently independent Community Centre Associations.  I can see no upside to this which cannot be achieved by other less drastic and costly methods.  As I understand it, the Parks Board proposes to take control of all the Community Centres’ finances, probably blow a good part of this in bloating the bureaucracy to handle these finances, possibly disperse some of the monies to weaker Community Centres, and dump the rest into general revenues.  In the process I can expect my community Centre fees to probably double and services to decline.  Certainly no upside for me.

I certainly support helping weaker Community Centers but I think that this can be done by a modest (10 – 20%) increase in the amount that the stronger Community Centres presently forward to the Parks Board.  This would leave the Community Centre Associations in their present (laudable) independent status, give the Parks Board more funds for the support of weaker Community Centres, and not increase the already overbloated bureaucracy since it would be a change to an already existing cash stream.

Keep up the good work.

Very respectfully,

 

Dennis Healey
2867 West 44th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6N 3K1

 


 

Letter by Douglas Rickson

posted January 31, 2013.

I have lived in Kerrisdale for the past 30 years,and during that time I have had the pleasure of enjoying the programs and services provided by the Kerrisdale Community Centre, Now that I am in my senior years the Centre’s unique programs, services and facilities have assumed even greater importance to my health and well-being. The Kerrisdale community contains a large population of seniors, many of whom live alone, and the KCC Senior Centre plays a major role in enriching their social lives and maintaining their mental health.

The Kerrisdale Community Centre has been managed and operated in a very efficient and effective manner by its elected Community Centre Association for more than fifty years. Revenues generated by the Centre have been reinvested in facilities services and programs that are tailored to meet the unique needs of the Kerrisdale community.

The Parks Board and City Hall do not understand that the imposition of a single community programming model will not meet the needs of any community. They are trying to impose a “one-size-fits-all” panty-hose solution to a problem that does not even exist.

Under the proposed city plan there will be no incentive to strive for excellence in the programming, facilities and services provided by the centres. There will no longer be a “revenue reward” for going the extra mile to meet the unique needs of the community and no revenue to invest in meeting these needs. Programming, services, equipment and facilities at all centres will then sink to the lowest common denominator.

  The revenues generated from the programs, rentals and services provided by the Kerrisdale Community Centre are presently invested in equipment, programs and subsidized services, such as the Seniors Lunch which provides nutritious low-cost meals and social opportunities for the elderly seniors living in the surrounding community.

If the Parks Board takes control of the operations and revenues of the community centres then the societies currently running the community centres would lose the ability to raise funds. Community centres are currently able to raise funds for capital investment through “revenue matching grants” from the Provincial and Federal governments. Under the Parks Board plan the community centres would have no “ownership” of their revenues, and would therefore not be eligible for such grants.

Once the City takes over, the community centres will no longer be able to utilize volunteers to assist in the provision of services.Costs will then go up and many of the services will disappear because of the need to use unionized city workers .

I am hopeful all of the members of the various community centres throughout Vancouver will rise-up and overthrow  the proponents of this Parks Board initiative.

Douglas Rickson

 


Community Patron Testimonials

 

Get to know your community members. Below are testimonials of community members that use the centre.

“I’m here daily at the centre. I used to swim. Now it’s mostly snooker and bridge, and I have my blood pressure checked. It’s a home away from home, and has been for 30 years.

“My kids swam at this pool before it even had a roof. I remember the levy on our tax bill for 20 years to pay for this place, that’s how far we go back.

“I’ve been well satisfied with the management and staffing of the place up to now. The association is providing the programs people want and filling the needs of our local community, and on a fiscally responsible basis. The programs they have chosen are well attended.

“The members offer their time and talents to be on a board chosen at an annual general meeting, and it’s working well. I don’t see any reason to change things now.

“Actually, the centre’s operation could be a model for other city facilities. I can’t see any value in taking away local management of the money.”

— David

____________________________

 

“The preschool, now the Little Owls Pre-School, has been here almost 40 years, in one form or another. We’ve built up a community here, for the children and their parents.

“We’re play-based; we believe in children socializing, that’s our philosophy. With kids from so many backgrounds in the area, that’s so important, that diversity. They come here and come together, they play and meet friends and learn to solve problems; they get ready for their schools, which are close by.

“It’s good for them, with their siblings at school so near. It’s good for the parents; many of them are from the area, and they can drop them here easily.

“And we can build a program that suits all those needs. We can time the hours to just what parents need, and the programs to just what kids need.

“It’s a worry that that might change.”

— Rebecca

____________________________

 

“Right now, I mostly use the fitness centre. But I’ve been coming to this place for 27 years. My 30-year-old went to preschool here. I still have a lot of personal friends I met at that preschool; it’s a community.

“I like that the centre runs on a model where the users drive the decisions, the hours and the programs. I think it would be a pity to change that.

“There’s a very pleasant atmosphere here. People are cooperative and they treat the place respectfully because it’s their community. We’re not going to get that when it’s essentially a corporate entity running it.”

  — Deborah

____________________________

 

“I am 19 years old. I have probably been using the services and programs at the Kerrisdale Community Centre since I was 4. From tae-kwon-do lessons to ballet classes, from spending my whole summer as a camper in the “Summer Safaris” day camp to pottery classes with Mia, I’m pretty sure I did it all.

“The KCC is important to me. Not only has it provided me with many different activities and learning opportunities, it has also given me the chance to create friendships and connect with the residents of and near Kerrisdale. Over the years, it has helped develop my sense of what it really means to be a community.

“I can honestly say that without this facility, I would not have met and built friendships with so many different generations and backgrounds. I have even developed unlikely friendships with those who are more than three times my age, people who I admire and now look up to as my role models. The long hours, relatively low fees and great equipment are what make this fitness centre great and so easily accessible to its members.

“It would be a shame if a park-board takeover leads to higher fees, shorter hours or even a complete closure of the fitness room. For a park board that describes itself – and I quote from their website – as a “park board (that) ensures that Vancouver parks and recreation remains accessible and sustainable”, it sure isn’t doing a great job if it thinks raising fees and taking away equipment bought and owned by the community and for the community, will help achieve their mission.

“It is unfair that our cash-strapped park board and city feels the need to take control of the programming offered in our community and all revenues from the fees that we, the community and members, have paid. I believe that what WE put into OUR community should be reinvested back into this community — and not into the pockets of the park board.

“Let’s keep “community” in Kerrisdale Community Centre.”

— Melissa

____________________________

“We are the Brock House/Kerrisdale Bell Ringers, the only handbell choir in Vancouver. We’re a joint venture with Brock House in Jericho.

“The Kerrisdale Community Centre gives us space to play and to store our instruments. That space was hard to find.

“We play here once a week, and then have a meal here. It’s so enjoyable.

“Our bells were originally bought by the Brock House Society, and 40 years later, we’re still using them and entertaining seniors. And we can come in twice a week and practice, thanks to the Kerrisdale Community Centre.”

— Joanna and Patricia


You are invited to an emergency public meeting at the Kerrisdale Community Centre

Last Fall, the Park Board threatened to kick the  21 Community Centre Societies (KCCS), who currently manage community centres across the City, out of the Community Centres if the Societies did not sign on to a new services agreement that will allow Park Board to determine which programs are offered and  to control all revenues.   The Kerrisdale Community Centre Society has managed programming at KCC since the 1950’s.  All revenue from fees you have paid and rentals have been reinvested in this community.  No longer will this happen if the Park Board takes control.  Some programs and services will end, and all revenues will go to Park Board general revenues.

KCCS is sponsoring a public meeting with Mr. Bromley, General Manager of Parks and Recreation, attending on January 29th, 7 pm in our Auditorium.  You are all invited to attend and hear what Mr. Bromley has to say about this plan,  in a public venue.  A special afternoon meeting for Seniors who cannot attend the evening meeting to hear about these issues, and to ask questions will be held at the Centre at 3 pm, on January 29th.

 


 

 

KEEP COMMUNITY IN COMMUNITY CENTRES!

Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS) has operated the KCC since the mid 1950s in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board. A long established contract, the Joint Operating Agreement, sets the terms of this partnership. Under this contract the KCCS retains all revenues from programs and rentals for reinvestment in the community. Other community centres across the city have similar operating agreements with the City.

The Park Board, apparently backed by City Council, is proposing to take effective control over all community centres, to collect all revenues, and to turn the longstanding local, elected, volunteer-run community centre boards into advisory bodies reporting to city staff. This is a radical change and outrageous, and the effects on KCC will be devastating.

Within days of city staff announcing the plan to replace local community control of the centres, the mayor announced the creation of an“Engaged City Task Force” to encourage local involvement in city governance. How hypocritical! KCC and similar community centres are glowing examples of community engagement. The Mayor’s Task Force should be studying our community centres and the role of their local associations.

The city claims the current system of running the community centres is “broken” and that a new centralized system is essential to provide “equity” and “access” for all citizens. The real reason for the change however is not engagement, equity or access; it is that our cash-strapped Park Board/City is trying to grab community centre revenues.

The City’s plan, if implemented, would result in a cutback in the hours the KCC is open (equity with other centres where hours have been cut); a doubling in fitness centre drop in fees (to be equitable with City-run fitness centres); an end to our lunch subsidy for our low income seniors (access). The nutritional and social value of the senior’s lunch program is invaluable, but equal access with other community centres will mean we lose this important Society funded program.

The Park Board/City’s cash grab will destroy the ability of KCCS to reinvest in our community. To date these investments have helped build the Senior’s Centre, build the fitness facility, open the PlayPalace at the Arena, and installed a child play area near the reception counter. Such investments in our centre will end if the Park Board takes effective control. The KCC will then have to line up with other centres to ask for handouts from our cash-strapped city. Once these changes are made they can never be reversed.

The KCCS needs your help to preserve our programs and the community we have built.

-Write to the Mayor, Councilors, Park Board Commissioners & newspapers: ( How/where to send letters to the editor of major publications)

-Call 311and complain about the pending changes;

-Join PlaceSpeak and provide your opinion on this important topic;

-Talk to your friends and neighbours about the pending changes to your community.

 Don’t allow the City to take over our community centre and its revenues. Act now and help KEEP COMMUNITY IN COMMUNITY CENTRES.

Written by Robert Lockhart, Vice-President Kerrisdale Community Centre Society.