City of Parksville takes community centre funds and assets issue to court

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The City of Parksville has filed a notice of civil claim to request the Parksville Community Centre Society (PCCS) be ordered to return all remaining funds and assets, including kitchen equipment and appliances removed from the centre.

The document, filed on April 8, states the equipment and appliances used in the centre’s operation are owned and provided by the city through direct purchase, provision of funds to the PCCS or public donations. It also states the society removed the equipment without the city’s permission in December, 2020.

The PCCS, in its response filed on May 14, denied this claim. “PCCS used its money to operate a community and conference centre on the land and to buy personal property that PCCS owned, including furniture and equipment,” the response said.

The society removed only its personal property, including its business records, furniture and equipment, according to its response to the civil claim.

The society’s president, Holly Heppner, said she would not comment specifically on the civil claim, but said the society will provide its evidence and argument when the matter goes to court.

“The current mayor and council seem to believe that Parksville does not need a community centre, we disagree on that. We are trying to preserve the assets of the society so that those assets will be used for a community centre when the opportunity arises again,” she said.

The city provided notice to the society last October that it would not renew its contract with the PCCS to operate the centre, which expired on Dec. 31, 2020.

“The PCCS has failed to return the funds and assets, including the equipment and appliances, to the city since the termination of the operating agreement,” reads the notice of civil claim.

The fund described in the contract as all remaining assets of the centre did not denote the personal property removed by the PCCS, according to its response.

The city said the society has failed to provide the requested 2020 annual financial report by March 31, 2021. The society replied it is in the process of obtaining audited financial statements and will not know the amount its owes the city until the the statements are completed.

The community centre was temporarily leased to Island Health to be used as a COVID-19 immunization site from March 15 until September.

The city was awarded a grant for $2.03 million from the provincial government in May to complete renovations to the centre to facilitate 91 new childcare spaces and community programming. It will partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island (BGCCVI) to operate the BGCCVI Parksville Child, Youth and Family Centre.

Mary Beil, a former councillor, filed a petition to the court in May, requesting a judicial review of city council’s decision to change the use of the centre. 

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