Vancouver, B.C. – The Hastings Community Association (HCA), which has been serving the Hastings community for more than 90 years, held a meeting on Wednesday, September 20 to inform members about the status of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) that the Park Board is demanding HCA’s Board signs by September 30 (or risk being evicted from their community centre). Close to 50 highly engaged association members provided unanimous direction to the Board of Directors to reject the proposed draft of the JOA.
Said Sherry Breshears, President of the Hastings Community Association: “The Board wanted to know what our community thought – and, like usual, they told us – and they didn’t hold back. The members here tonight unanimously agreed that the current draft of the JOA does not work for our community and they don’t want us to sign it.” She added: “Unlike the Park Board, the HCA Board has always worked in true ‘collaboration’ with our community – that’s not just a buzzword we throw around to make us look good. Last night, members unanimously told us that they don’t think this agreement is good for Hastings. We take that seriously.”
The HCA Board meets on September 27 and Breshears said that the feedback from members carries serious weight in the decision-making process. The Board will decide on their next steps – and whether to sign the agreement by the Park Board imposed deadline of September 30, 2017. Said Breshears: “Our Board was present at the meeting and they heard how our members feel first-hand. Now, the Board must outline the next steps through a formal Board decision.” She added: “I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised at the outcome of next week’s Board meeting.”
Breshears says that HCA – and other Community Centre Associations (CCAs) – would have been able to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement with the Park Board to get a JOA that works for the Park Board and CCAs. She continued: “We have a group of CCAs who have informed the Park Board many times about the six outstanding issues with the document. They aren’t huge changes – and they are reasonable. Unfortunately, the Park Board is entrenched in aggressively pushing this draft forward. All we are asking for is to send this for a legal review with CCA legal counsel and the Park Board lawyer. It wouldn’t take long. If done in good faith, it would result in an agreement we could – and would – sign. It would be a straightforward win for them and they refuse to even consider it.”