Park Board’s Proposed Operating Agreement – Pros & Cons
THE PROS: Positive aspects of Park Board’s April 2017 proposed new joint operating agreement (JOA):
- some disputes can go to arbitration
- term would be 10 years rather than 2 or 5
- legal conflicts with Societies Act and Income Tax Act have been removed
- increased clarity around human resources and ownership of equipment
THE CONS: Key provisions of Park Board’s April 2017 proposal that Kerrisdale opposes:
1. Memberships: Under this proposal:
- CCAs cannot charge for memberships
- members cannot receive special benefits
2. Financial Issues: This proposal will:
- eliminate membership fees, reducing KCCS revenues by about $100,000/year;
- add a Park Board “operating fee” costing about $40,000/year;
- impose increased staff costs, initially of about $120,000/year; and
- impose new registration system costs, initially of about $30,000/year.
Overall, the negative impact on KCCS operating costs will be approximately $300,000 per year.
KCCS net surplus over the past four years averaged $40,000/year. Thus, without major operational changes, KCCS could be facing deficits of $260,000 per year from 2019.
There are 3 options for meeting these new costs:
1. eliminate low-revenue or subsidized programs
2. charge fees for programs and services that are currently free
3. raise fees for some, most or all programs
Overall, this proposal will likely result in reduced services and/or higher costs to KCCS patrons. Some smaller community centre associations say they will be facing bankruptcy in only a few years.
3. Park Board Payment Claims:
Park Board claims KCCS owes $966,000 in past staff salary payments, and requires this invoice be paid before we sign the April 2017 Park Board proposal. Park Board officials acknowledge that no documentation supports this invoice.
4. Society Management: This proposal allows the Park Board:
- to limit how CCAs spend retained earnings;
- to impose specified policies on internal Society operations;
- to exercise greater oversight of CCAs
On the other hand, the April 2017 proposal contains no Park Board commitment to support CCAs or to ensure sustainable recreation services are provided to communities.
5. Termination: If the CCAs accept Park Board’s April 2017 proposal, the new JOA will:
- terminate in 10 years if Park Board (or a CCA) does not want to continue, or
- terminate absolutely in 15 years. CCAs can re-negotiate only if Park Board agrees;
- allow Park Board to terminate JOAs if it claims to have concerns about CCA’s management of a centre or if it finds a CCA ever has been in breach of the agreement, or if it decides to close a centre;
- allow Park Board to determine, unilaterally, that a CCA is not working to resolve a breach of the JOA, and then to terminate agreement without notice;
- allow Park Board to exclude a CCA from a new or renovated centre space if Park Board has ever decided CCA was in breach of the agreement.
In short, there are many ways Park Board can terminate the agreement. Local CCAs will thus likely not be managing their community centres within 10 or 15 years.
6. CCAs Legal Case:
Park Board requires that we cancel our on-going court case against the Park Board, and do so before we sign the proposed agreement. Cancelling would leave us without a fair and satisfactory agreement and without protection from arbitrary termination.