The North Park Neighbourhood Association (NPNA) hopes to lead a pilot project for communities without community centres to still receive funding for recreational staff.
The NPNA is asking the City of Victoria for a $75,000 grant to help improve its community services, including bolstering staff at the Quadra Village Community Centre, which is actually outside of the neighbourhood’s borders but supplies many services to its residents.
The problem, said NPNA board member Allison Ashcroft, is that North Park doesn’t have a community centre of its own so it doesn’t receive the funding usually afforded to other neighbourhoods.
“Neighbourhoods with a community centre and/or a seniors centre (there are 11 in town total) receive core operating grants for staffing costs of $75,000 per centre,” Ashcroft said in an email.
This means that neighbourhoods like Fairfield get annual funding of $150,000 because it has both a community centre and a seniors’ centre. Comparatively, Harris Green and North Park receive a neighbourhood grant of less than $3,000 per year.
“[That’s] despite having the lion’s share of the growth, land use development activity and neighbourhood change and social challenges,” Ashcroft said. “We are arguing that the absence of a fully-funded community centre is already a disadvantage, but we don’t need to be further disadvantaged in our attempts to strengthen well-being in our community by not having staff support grants for that neighbourhood activation and coordination.”
Discussions about the pilot project are scheduled to occur in January when council begins conversations about the 2020 city budget.
North Park neighbourhood community co-liaison Coun. Marianne Alto said it’s a bit early to discuss specifics, but that the wider conversation on equity is an important one to have.
Alto added it will be a tough series of conversations as the City decides where to put its surplus funding in 2020, since they have more requests in than can be covered.