Park board deadline no longer in effect for rebel community centres
The Vancouver park board isn’t getting its wish to evict six rebel community-centre associations by the end of the year.
Although the so-called Group of Six isn’t declaring victory in its court battle with city hall, its chair indicated that it’s been good so far.
Don Munton was asked what would happen if the court does not issue a ruling by December 31.
“The park board is restrained from taking further actions by a previous court order,” Munton told the Straight in a phone interview. “And so the deadline that it set at the end of December will come and pass, and the community centres will be open. The associations will be running the programs.”
Munton is on the board of the Kerrisdale community association, one of six resisting the park board’s attempt to take over neighbourhood recreation centres. The five others are in Sunset, Kensington, Hillcrest, Killarney, and Hastings.
The group initiated legal action against the city on August 20 this year. Nine days later, the park board announced that it was terminating its joint operating agreements with the six associations by December 31.
According to Munton, B.C. Supreme Court issued two orders in October and November directing the park board to cease actions to seize control over the six centres.
“We’ve been satisfied with the actions of the court,” the former UNBC professor said.
Munton expects the court to issue a decision on the dispute after the New Year. “It’s about whether the community centres will continue to be independent and to run their own affairs or whether they’re going to be taken over by the park board,” he said about the fight.
NPA park commissioner Melissa De Genova recalled putting forward several motions for public consultation regarding the operations of community centres. But according to her, these were voted down by the ruling Vision Vancouver caucus.
“The public tells me that if there was true and meaningful consultation, and if they had a voice, it’s anyone’s guess but we might not be in the situation that we’re in,” De Genova told the Straight by phone.
Vision commissioners Sarah Blyth and Trevor Loke directed the Straight to new park chair Niki Sharma. Sharma didn’t make herself available by deadline.