Coun. Doug O’Brien brought forth a motion at Monday’s regular council meeting for the city to explore declining the $2 million Childcare BC New Spaces grant and look at the city retaining control and management of the Parksville Community Centre before proceeding with any agreements or contracts with BGC Central Vancouver Island.
O’Brien provided a notice of his motion at the Oct. 18 council meeting.
“Many community centres in other municipalities manage the community centres, providing an important gathering place for its citizens. The operating agreement with the Parksville Community Centre Society has now been terminated, allowing for the City of Parksville to retain control and manage this valuable community asset,” said O’Brien. “We have received significant correspondence, as well as a petition containing 2,572 signatures, requesting that we continue to provide the Parksville Community Centre as a venue for the benefit of our community and not turn over control to a private operation for alternate use.”
He noted the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) had provided a child care strategy and planning guide to be used when considering support for daycare space possibilities.
Coun. Teresa Patterson said she seconded O’Brien’s motion to bring the discussion to the floor and have other members of council weigh in.
“When we brought this forward to the city’s lawyer, one of the criteria of when we ended the contract with the Parksville Community Centre Society was that we could not, as a city, entertain the same type of centre being run by the City of Parksville or staff. We would either have to leave it dormant for two years and then take sort of possession if we were to engage in the activities that the community centre had in the past,” said Patterson.
Coun. Adam Fras added he wasn’t sure what the city would have to gain by becoming the operators of the PCC, which would involve turning down the sizeable grant.
“As well, the operating costs of it; we don’t have staff for it. This is not our area that we typically manage those types of things,” he said.
O’Brien’s motion did not pass, with Mayor Ed Mayne, Coun. Mark Chandler, Coun. Al Greir and Fras in opposition.