Kerrisdale Community Centre Society sees big community turnout for input on Park Board Joint Operating Agreement
Vancouver, B.C. – The Kerrisdale Community Centre Society saw more than 300* people come out to two community meetings held yesterday to gather public feedback on a proposed Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) that the Park Board requires Kerrisdale and all other Community Centre Associations (CCAs) in Vancouver to sign by September 30, 2017. (*Approximately 175 at the 1 p.m. meeting and 130 at the 7:30 p.m. meeting).
Said Kathleen Bigsby, President of the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society: “We wanted to know what our community thought, so we asked them.” She added: “The Kerrisdale community is involved, engaged and active in what happens in our neighbourhood. They came out and they told us – in no uncertain terms – that they are not happy with the proposed agreement that the Park Board is pushing us to sign. In fact, several of our members are already discussing how they can organize public protests. Unless some changes are made to the contract currently on the table, our community has made it clear that the issue isn’t going away anytime soon.”
While the meeting was not a formal vote on whether to sign the agreement (that will happen in September at a Special General Meeting for members), Bigsby says that the volunteer executive and board of the Society did get clear direction from the community – they are not happy with the proposed Joint Operating Agreement. She said: “Our first step will be to reach out to Park Board Commissioners and ask for a meeting so we can address our serious concerns about sections of this proposed agreement. We want an agreement that works for the Park Board and for our unique community. I don’t think that is too much to ask.” She added: “If commissioners can take a step forward and workwith us, it could be a big win for the Park Board and for the community centres in Vancouver.”
About Kerrisdale Community Centre
The Kerrisdale Community Centre is jointly operated by the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society and the Vancouver Park Board. One of the earliest community centres to be built in Vancouver, it was constructed in 1955 through a local improvement bylaw initiative, where residents in the area agreed to directly fund facility building costs.
The centre provides an opportunity for seniors, families (the parents and the children), young adults and newcomers to Canada to meet, socialize, make use of the recreational facilities, and participate in diverse programs developed specifically to meet the unique needs of the community. It provides members with the opportunity to start or strengthen social, emotional and neighbourhood relationships, stay fit, keep their minds sharp, have a healthy lunch, and is key in helping to maintain an authentic, robust sense of community in the area.