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Another push for more public consultations re: comm centres

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Call it a third “kick at the can,” as one Vancouver Park Board commissioner tries to get the public involved in a dispute over the city’s community centres.

NPA Commissioner Melissa de Genova is, once again, bringing forward a motion for more public consultations at the Vancouver Park Board meeting tonight.

“Tonight’s motion is similar to motions that I’ve been trying to bring forward for the past several months that have been called out of order. This one has not and is on the agenda. People will be able to come out and speak to my motion, which asks for public consultation in at least eight meetings across the city to give the public a chance to weigh in and speak with commissioners about how they feel about the new community centre model,” she tells News1130.

The Vision Vancouver-dominated board is taking control of community centre funding and programming from local associations and there are worries that will result in service cuts and increased fees.

Some community centre associations have been trying negotiate a new joint operating agreementĀ  with the Park Board.

“I really think, unfortunately, my colleagues had made made up their minds before they listened to the public at the one meeting that took place at the West End Community Centre. I just don’t think that four days’ notice and one meeting that lasted until 3:30 in the morning — many people couldn’t stay to speak — is proper public consultation,” says de Genova.

“That meeting was ‘legislation by exhaustion’ and you can see by the latest polls that 70 per cent of the public is not on-board for this new community centre model. Commissioners need to take that seriously; we need to listen to the public. How can we do that when we only held one meeting that went until 3:30 a.m.? We’re saying that was enough public consultation? I don’t think so,” she adds.

de Genova feels the whole process is a cash grab that has been “rammed down people’s throats” and calls it embarrassing.