President’s Message, Spring 2016
Our community centre is jointly managed by the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation under the terms of a contract called the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA). The Agreement spells out the rights and responsibilities of the Park Board and the local community centre association in the operation of its community centre. This model was created so that each of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods would have an active role in managing its community centre to meet local needs. This community has invested much time, energy and money in the Kerrisdale Community Centre for over 70 years and has a vital role in its operations!
MAJOR ISSUES FACING THE SOCIETY IN 2015
In the2014 election campaign, the new Park Board promised to develop a new Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with the City’s community centre associations. Following unsuccessful talks with the City and Park Board prior to the election, the group of six community centre associations (Kerrisdale, Hastings, Hillcrest, Kensington, Killarney and Sunset) called the G6, put considerable effort into developing a proposal for a new Joint Operating Agreement to meet our communities’ needs and address City concerns. To assist MNP, an accounting and business advisory firm, provided a thorough analysis of the financial impact of some of the City’s proposals.
In the spring the City launched a court action to alter the existing JOA renewal clause. On May 1, the City asked us to agree to an out-of-court settlement of this application. We ceded nothing.
On April 20, 2015 the G6 sent its JOA proposal to the Park Board, and indicated its readiness to resume negotiations. On June 12 the G6 received the Park Board’s JOA proposal. Between June 19 and July 6, representatives of the G6 met five times with representatives of the City and Park Board in talks mediated by Vince Ready intended to achieve a new Joint Operating Agreement (JOA). Unfortunately, a number of issues remained unresolved and the talks were suspended.
The other Vancouver community centre associations were not involved in these talks. They too are anxious to develop a JOA with the Park Board, especially those associations who had met with them for almost eighteen months between spring 2013 and summer 2014.
In March 2015 the Society learned of Park Board reductions to the Kerrisdale Community Centre maintenance budget. As the cuts took effect, complaints about the lack of cleanliness in the community centre increased. A temporary budget increase to address concerns was received in November- December 2015. A detailed assessment of the maintenance required to keep a building of Kerrisdale’s size and usage levels is underway, but not yet complete. We are committed to working with Park Board staff to deal with this issue, and will continue to update you on our progress
From the Park Board / City’s first announcement of its intention to implement New Recreation Software nearly two years ago, the Society has been asking for meaningful consultation to ensure that the new software would work effectively to meet our patrons’ and the Society’s operational needs. In March 2015 we expressed our concerns in a letter sent to the Park Board.
While information meetings were held with community centre associations in April through June, 2015 these were not consultations, did not solicit any of our concerns, and did not answer many of the questions raised. In June community centre representatives attended a meeting with the Park Board General Manager and staff to discuss our concerns about the proposed Active Net implementation. The discussion was useful, but worrisome issues still remained. In August The Society filed its request to halt the ActiveNet implementation with the Supreme Court; this action has been postponed to allow time for an out of court settlement of this issue.
Throughout fall 2015 Kerrisdale, Killarney and Hastings community centre associations have been working with Park Board staff to develop an agreement that will provide control of our revenue, timely and accurate reporting for operational management, and increased convenience to our patrons. These talks have been considerably more productive than earlier discussions and an agreement now appears to be within reach.
- In February, the Kerrisdale Community Centre was voted “Best Community Centre in Vancouver” in the Courier Readers’ Choice Awards. We celebrated this achievement with the community at Kerrisdale Days on 25 April when we spoke to over 300 people, and handed out information materials, cupcakes and balloons.
- On April 26 Kerrisdale celebrated the Cherry Blossom Festival with well-attended workshops, walks, a picnic a concert and a Japanese tea ceremony.
- As part of the Crossroad Café series, the Centre hosted two presentations from the Musqueam First Nation this year. On May 14, more than 50 people heard Larry Grant’s presentation, Musqueam: Beginning until Now. On October 1, Howard Grant, Councillor of the Musqueam Indian Band, and Marvin Storrow, Q.C., a leader in Aboriginal law, spoke about The Musqueam, Now and in Future to 60 people. The speakers’ comments on the impacts of the Indian Act on the Musqueam and other First Nations communities were very insightful, and question periods were lively.
- The Society has re-activated its Youth Committee to address interests of this population. The Committee has created strong links with students at local schools, and initiated new opportunities for local youth to develop leadership skills while facilitating activities that benefit local youth. To assist the Committee the Society has hired a part-time Youth Coordinator.
- To support On-going Board Development the Society arranged a one-day workshop with Vantage Point in January 2015 for Board members from Kerrisdale and other community centre associations to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of Board operations. Kerrisdale’s new Board Development Committee organized a follow-up workshop for the Board and Seniors Council in November to address setting goals and measuring their achievement, and effectively chairing committee meetings. The Board has streamlined its meeting processes, and initiated steps to establish measureable committee goals in 2015.
- The Board has established a Needs Assessment Committee to assess the demographic profile of community, to review programs and services being offered, and to identify other programs that the community desires. The Board believes this initiative is very important to keep our Centre vibrant and contemporary. The last needs assessment was completed in 2005.
- Sorting, digitizing and archiving the Society’s records is another significant project in 2015. The Society holds paper files dating back to 1943 that include records of local fund raising, construction phases, renovations, and ongoing Centre operations. Once they have been digitized, the paper files will be taken to the Vancouver Archives. Minutes of Board of Director and major committees are now accessible on our web site: www.kerrisdalecc.com.
- The Society sponsored a forum entitled Explore Neighbourhood Empowerment in January 2016. Mr. Jim Diers, former from Seattle was the keynote speaker ably supported by Dr. David Ley, UBC Geography professor, discussing planning as it has been in Vancouver and Mr. Larry Benge, Co-chair of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, describing the challenges of current processes. Together they described for the 175 attendees why “neighbourhood” is such an important aspect of keeping any large city liveable for its residents.
The Kerrisdale Community Centre is the busiest community centre in Vancouver offering a broad array of programs to meet the needs of the Kerrisdale community and providing excellent service to our patrons. In 2015 12,597 members of the community participated in 3,883 programs. The Board of Directors and Centre staff constantly monitor our members for new program and service suggestions. We thank all Centre staff, instructors, and volunteers for this.
The Board was sorry to see Kristi Douglas, a long-time centre programmer and Pam Andrews, a seniors’ area programmer leave Kerrisdale this year. Kristi left for a promotion and Pam has retired. We were pleased to welcome Shannon Brown as the new centre programmer.
Attracting and retaining energetic and committed Board members is an ongoing challenge, and essential to the Society’s health. We shall miss the Board members who left this past year, and look forward to the participation of those who have recently joined the Board and those standing for election at this AGM. We value all their contributions.
Direct participation by residents in the running of public recreation facilities is unusual in North America, and it’s what makes our community centre truly a centre for the residents of this community. Be a proud member of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society and support our Society to ensure excellent programming chosen to meet the needs of our community. Consider joining a Board committee; you’ll learn about the community and make new friends.
The goals of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society continue to be keeping the community involved in decisions about programs and services at our Centre and maintaining independent control over how we run our affairs and allocate our financial resources. To this end we continue to resist attempts by Park Board to eliminate our independent role while providing the programs and services our members want.
Kathleen Bigsby, President