Vancouver Park Board Announces New Universal Access to Recreation Facilities
The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has ratified an interim agreement reached with the Community Centre Association Presidents’ Group (APG) to create a single, system-wide card that will provide all Vancouverites with universal access to the pools, rinks and fitness centres across the Park Board network and, if also ratified by the Community Centre Association Boards, universal access to the city’s 22 community centres.
The new OneCard will be available for access to Park Board operated pools, rinks and fitness centres starting July 8, and is intended to be launched across the Community Centre network on September 1, this year pending approval by the Associations.
The OneCard is intended to replace the current patchwork of over 20 cards, some of which include Association membership fees, that are currently required to access recreation and community centre facilities and to register for programs. The OneCard includes a built-in 50 percent subsidy, for those who qualify, as part of the Park Board’s Leisure Access program for people with financial barriers. The multi-visit Flexipass will also be built into the OneCard and, with approval by Community Centre Associations, will allow residents to use it across Community Centres, fitness centres, rinks and pools across the city. The OneCard makes it easier for people to participate in recreation programs and services regardless of income or where they live in the city.
“This is a very positive step forward in the Park Board’s renewed partnership with Vancouver’s Community Centre Associations, following months of negotiations towards a new Joint Operating Agreement,” said Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma. “We are very appreciative of the time and effort of the volunteers from the Community Centre Associations on the negotiating committee and their ongoing commitment to their community. We are very hopeful that the Associations will ratify this agreement.”
The Park Board has agreed to compensate the Community Centre Associations for any lost membership revenue associated with the introduction of the OneCard and the Associations will continue to receive all revenue generated by program fees including those from new core programs. The Associations will still be able to sell membership to their societies; however membership will not be required to access any facilities or programs.
The Park Board and APG also agreed to have an independent third-party evaluate the impact of the various components of the interim agreement next spring.
The Park Board has approved moving ahead on consultation with Community Centre Associations, key stakeholders, and the public on two important topics: core programs and the allocation of $1M in capital funding.
Staff will hold roundtable discussions this summer with key stakeholders and the Community Centre Associations on options for core programs targetted to children, youth, seniors, and aboriginal peoples. These core programs align with the Healthy City Strategy and focus on providing support at critical stages in life to populations who can easily become vulnerable.
The Park Board has directed staff to assist the Community Centre Associations with their public consultation to determine the best use for the $1M capital allocation in the 2013 budget and expects to receive a report back from the Associations at the end of September with recommendations.
The Park Board and the Community Centre Associations have also agreed to continue their negotiations toward a new Joint Operating Agreement and are meeting again on June 15.