Community Centre Associations say they are increasingly alarmed about current draft of Joint Operating Agreement

Vancouver, B.C. – Community Centre Associations (CCAs) are calling on Park Board Commissioners to refer the current draft of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) back to staff at an upcoming public meeting on March 6, 2017. The group of 14 CCAs says they are growing increasingly alarmed that amendments that are currently being drafted behind closed doors and will be presented at the March 6 meeting won’t meet the requirements that would allow their individual CCAs to sign the agreement. They say that individually and as a group, the CCAs are concerned that Commissioners and staff don’t clearly understand the serious legal issues in language used in the document that have been identified by CCA lawyers. In fact, the CCAs have been advised by legal counsel that some provisions in the current draft of the JOA would put the organizations in conflict with the Societies Act and/or CRA regulations.

With concerns mounting, the group of CCAs (all volunteers) has submitted a letter (http://bit.ly/2lDpQJS) to Commissioners, clearly outlining their concerns and requirements for the JOA. Said Kate Perkins, President of Trout Lake CCA: “It is increasingly frustrating when we see articles in the media that say that amendments are being planned for this document, but we have not been directly included in the process. Our collective ‘ask’ to Commissioners is very clear: direct staff to work with CCAs and our lawyer to iron out the remaining unacceptable issues. Let’s get an agreement that we can all sign.” She added: “We want to get a result that is a win for everyone – for Commissioners, for staff, for each of our community centres and the neighbourhoods we serve. That isn’t too much to ask.”

Legal counsel has advised the CCAs that because of the language used in the current draft of the JOA, the document undermines their rights to act as independent entities. This will limit their ability to make decisions in the best interests of their diverse communities, which is what they are elected to do – and why they exist. The CCAs are asking Commissioners to follow through on what Commissioners heard directly from dozens of community members at the last public meeting in mid-February: direct staff to work with CCAs and their lawyer to finalize the document.

Vancouver Community Centre Associations have an admirable 60 to 70-year track record of responsible financial management, community engagement, volunteer commitment, investment in local facilities, and recreation leadership. For more information about this issue, please visit: www.mycommunitycentre.com.

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