Park commissioner Melissa De Genova calls for consultation on community centre deal
NPA park commissionerMelissa De Genova wants to see the public given a chance to weigh in on an updated joint operating agreement between the park board and Vancouver community centre associations.
But the Non-Partisan Association politician is concerned that people may not be given the opportunity, after her motion calling for a public meeting on the subject was ruled out of order.
De Genova noted that Vancouver park board staff are in discussions with community association presidents to work towards a new joint operating agreement.
“I think it’s great that they get to speak to staff right now in the meetings that they’re having, and some of those meetings commissioners attend and some they don’t,” De Genova told the Straight by phone. “But I think it’s important that as elected officials…we get a chance to hear not only from the associations, but from the public as well.”
De Genova said she received a text message from park board chair Sarah Blyth earlier this week informing her that the motion had been ruled out of order, and that this was followed by a letter from park board staff.
“My concerns are there just hasn’t been enough public consultation, and I’m concerned that when the agreement finally comes to the board that there won’t be any room for public consultation because it’ll be too late in the process,” De Genova stated.
Blyth said the motion was ruled out of order because of the ongoing process taking place between park board staff and the community associations.
“We are doing public consultation—that’s exactly what we’re doing,” she told the Straight in a phone interview, calling the NPA motion “nothing more than procedural grandstanding”.
“It’s not offering us anything productive in our ongoing dialogue with the community centre associations,” she said.
Eric Harms, president of the Hastings Community Association, which runs the Hastings community centre, told the Straight he also has concerns about ensuring that public consultation takes place on the joint operating agreements.
“My concerns are as an elector, that public business isn’t being conducted in public,” he said in a phone interview. He noted that the community associations have some “issues” with the proposed new agreement and are planning to come forward with their own proposal.
Blyth noted that the operating agreements will come back to the park board at a later stage for public discussion.