I was very disappointed to read that the Parksville city council is closing the community centre, especially as they chose to do this without the courtesy of seeking community input.
On the other hand, we shouldn’t be shocked because this council consists largely of individuals who ran on a platform opposing Orca Place. Although they were unable to stop the project, once they assumed office they removed the cold weather shelter component and have not provided any service to replace it, thereby ignoring the needs of some people in our community. I don’t recall that the future of the community centre was in any of their campaign platforms.
Municipal government are responsible for governance and the provision of local services, such as fire protection, city streets and recreational facilities including parks and community centres.
What is a community without a meeting place, a facility to accommodate a variety of community activities such as craft shows, political forums at the time of federal, provincial and civic elections, exhibitions including cultural and commercial events, such as trade shows… Without our community centre where are these activities to occur?
Because of the lack of transparency, we don’t know why the decision was made — was it purely financial? Should the provision of community services be determined solely on the basis of whether the service operates in the black? I don’t know anything about how well the facility has been managed or marketed but if the management of the facility was the issue, council should have informed the community.
Municipal councils are democratically elected to make decisions on behalf of the community and are accountable for those decisions to their electorate. However, a council’s term is three years. A decision such as this has long term consequences on our community — far longer than a term of office. By making this decision without consulting us, this council has compromised the long term services available to the community and, thus have failed us.