City will not explore retaining and operating Parksville Community Centre

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The City of Parksville will not explore retaining control and management of the Parksville Community Centre (PCC).

Coun. Doug O’Brien’s motion that the city decline the $2 million Childcare BC New Spaces grant and manage the facility was defeated during council’s Nov. 1 regular meeting.

“The PCC was built and paid for by Parksville taxpayers, numerous businesses and community club contributions. The purpose was to build a community centre, not a daycare centre or other venture contrary to community centre values,” O’Brien said.

“We can manage and operate this facility for the benefit of all of our citizens and proudly provide facilities to celebrate Parksville.”

O’Brien pointed out the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ (UBCM) childcare planning guide mentions local governments should look for existing buildings in public ownership, but not currently in use by the public.

“The PCC is currently used by the public and in fact played a vital role as a vaccination centre for our community. The daycare space proposal was not intended to displace existing programs or use of community buildings,” he said.

Mayor Ed Mayne voted against the motion and said an operating agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island (BGCCVI) will enhance the centre. He added a 2017 staff report found the city would incur expenses of between $700,000 – 1,000,000 per year if it decided to operate the facility itself.

“This makes no sense, since no one can tell me what we would gain by doing this. We would no doubt end up with programs for youths, teenagers, young adults and senior citizens, as well as losing 91 very badly needed daycare spaces,” Mayne said. He added a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club will provide the programming without the cost to the city.

O’Brien’s motion was defeated with himself and Coun. Teresa Patterson voting in favour.

In May, the city was awarded a grant for $2,034,829 from the provincial government to complete renovations to the PCC to facilitate the new childcare spaces and community programming. It will partner with BGCCVI to operate the BGCCVI Parksville Child, Youth and Family Centre. The province will fund 58 new spaces and the UBCM will fund 33 spaces.

In December 2020, the city announced it would close the PCC as a rental facility, citing operating costs.

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