For Immediate Release: March 2nd, 2017
From: Kensington Community Centre Association (KCCA)
Park Board Bureaucrats Crush Dream of Child Care
Locked in an ongoing legal dispute with the City of Vancouver (CoV) and Park Board (PB), the Kensington Community Centre Association (KCCA) has been fighting on behalf of the community to continue offering affordable childcare services.
As this battle continued, a new force was added to this pressure cooker of a problem, when the Community Hall which was used by the daycare began to dramatically sink on one side rendering the building unsafe and condemned by the City of Vancouver. This has resulted in the child care being put at risk of closing if a new location cannot be found and renovated into a childcare facility. These services which the KCCA has provided to the community for over 50 years now are in imminent peril due to the CoV pressure tactics and lack of concern for the ever-crumbling facilities currently in use at Kensington.
In a cold winter that saw many seniors and families struggle to get around as their streets and lanes were snowed and iced in, the City of Vancouver and Park Board Management seemed to find the money and personnel to quickly clear and maintain the Mayor’s beloved bike lanes. Now this wouldn’t be so bad had the basics of city life and infrastructure been taken care of first, but this just doesn’t seem to be the case.
Over the past few months and even years, it has become apparent that the child care facilities at Kensington Community Centre have been in dire need of replacement and improvement. A new facility was approved some years ago and a budget of 11 million dollars was approved along with it.
So why haven’t the new facilities been built? It appears that Malcolm Bromley at Park Board decided that they did not want the KCCA to operate this new child care facility. This is insane considering that the KCCA has done just this for the past 50 years and has won awards and been recognized by various agencies including the provincial government for their excellent work.
The KCCA had done extensive background work and suggested a temporary site of Gray’s Park a few years ago to begin construction of a new approved facility, only to have the children of the community denied.
After talks with the City of Vancouver, Louise Boutin, long time board member and head of child care for KCCA said, “We have an empty building at Grey’s Park on 33rd & St Catherine’s which we have asked the City years ago to upgrade and get ready while the new facility can be built but they are dragging their feet. Now the community hall is about to collapse, the kids have nowhere to go and they are still scratching their heads and looking for a location!”
Frustrated and at wits end long time KCCA board member and child care head Louise Boutin said, “We are talking about our children, the children of this community, I wish Mayor Gregor Robertson and the councillors would think about the children as much as they do their precious bike lanes!”
When asked for solutions President Milan Kljajic added, “JOA negotiations have gone on for 25 years and have gone nowhere; it is about a money and power grab. I wish these people would understand that we are talking about child care and the children of this community who we have sheltered for 50 years!”
It appears that the KCCA board led by President Milan Kljajic had engaged the city some years ago to do exactly this but again was blocked by Park Board senior staff who wanted the KCCA to agree to hand over the child care operations to the city.
When asked President Kljajic said, “The board has given a solution to the city and yet they still baffled as to what to do. The City of Vancouver should completely renovate the Gray’s Park building and stop letting our community child care crumble before our eyes. These are our children, the future, why wouldn’t we want to invest in them like we do bike lanes!”
Asked what the next step is KCCA, Vice president Brad Tamplin gave words of solidarity, “Courage is contagious. When brave people take a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened and we will stand up for the children of Kensington!”
Milan Kljajic, President
Kensington Community Centre Association
REFERENCE: Video – BC MLA Mable Elmore congratulates Kensington Community Center Association marking 60th anniversary
KCCA Mission Statement: “To develop and maintain programs of a recreational, educational, cultural, social and economic nature that will improve the quality of life for the Kensington Community.”