For Immediate Release
5 February 2013
Last night’s Special Parks Board Meeting to discuss the Community Centre Association (CCA) Partnership Agreement was an attack on community-level democracy. The meeting was called with only three days notice, a last-minute change of venue, the staff report was released only hours before the meeting, and some residents who wished to speak were expected to stay until 3:30am. Many speakers had no choice but to leave without being heard.
The Vision Vancouver-dominated Parks Board is claiming the motion will mean increased equity among CCAs, and COPE supports this in principle. However, COPE disputes Vision’s claim that taking away the democratic mandate of the associations will create fairness amongst Community Centres, especially given differences in neighbourhood needs, the demands on those facilities, and existing disparity in funding from the Parks Board.
COPE Parks Committee co-chair Mia Edbrooke said: “Vancouver parks are strengthened by the fact that we have a democratically elected Parks Board, and democratically elected Community Centre Associations. Getting rid of these institutions isn’t a solution to inequity between community centres. The City should increase the overall funding for community centres and parks.”
Park Board funding has been cut consistently by Vision Vancouver, with a decrease of over $10 million in the past four years.
After an overwhelming number of speakers spoke against the centralized funding model, Vision commissioners passed a motion to accept the framework document and are set to enter negotiations to pool community centre revenues. COPE Parks Committee co-chair Anita Romaniuk concluded: “COPE urges the Park Board to conduct thorough public consultations and respectful negotiations with their Community Association partners.”
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