08/30/2013 10:00 EDT | Updated 10/30/2013 05:12 EDT

Park Board Severs Ties With Centres Over OneCard Lawsuit

The Vancouver Park Board says it will cut ties with volunteer associations at six community centres at the end of the year after they filed a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to stop the implementation of the new OneCard system in their facilities.

Sixteen community centre associations have signed an interim agreement with the board, but the Hastings, Kensington, Kerrisdale, Killarney, Riley Park Hillcrest and Sunset associations have held out.

Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma says staff have now been directed to serve notice to the associations participating in the court action, informing them that their current joint-operating agreement will be terminated on Dec. 31.

"They are very serious allegations and I think, as Park Board Commissioner and as a Park Board serving the public, we believe there's no choice but to fight those in court," Sharma said.

"But it's also very clear with that lawsuit that there's no relationship left with these six centres."

In the new year, parks board staff will search for a community organization to work under a new agreement to deliver programming and services in the six centres, Sharma said.

During that transition period, programs and pricing are to be maintained at their current levels, and volunteers and staff who wish to stay may do so.

Sharma assures residents that it will "business as usual" at the six community centres during the transition period.

For decades, individual community associations in Vancouver have worked with the park board, but ultimately have been in control of revenues generated by their community centres.

But in February, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation voted to pool revenues from community centre associations and implement a universal membership system, called OneCard.

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