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1TheRoadtoParkgateTheRoadtoParkgateashorthistoryashorthistorybyRacanSouiedan 2NothinghappensunlessfirstadreamCarlSandburgIntroductionOverthepastseveralyearsParkgateCommunityServicesSocietyhasreceivedrequestsfrompastBoardmembersstaffandourseniorstotellthestoryofhowthecommunitycametogethertoensurethatacommunitycentrewasbuiltsupportingresidentsofallagesinthisareaofNorthVancouver.OurmembersandseniorshavealwaysfeltastrongbondtotheSocietyandParkgateCommunityCentreandwantedtoensurethatsomethingwaswrittendownforfuturegenerationscapturingthispieceoflocalhistory.HowcouldwetellthisstoryReviewingthemanyindividualsinvolvedandthearrayoforganizationsandperspectiveswhowouldbebestsuitedtoresearchandwriteourhistoryItseemedclearthatwewouldbenefitfromafreshcuriousperspectivetodrawoutthisstory.AcknowledgingourstrongvolunteerbaseatParkgateCommunityCentrewithvariousskillsandattributesandourcommitmenttovolunteerismasavitalcontributiontoourcommunityweadvertisedforavolunteerwriter.Webegantheprocessin2012andarepleasedtointroduceRacanSouidanavolunteerwhohasembracedtheessenceofthepassionwefeelforourCentreandourorganization.Racansoonsortedthroughourarchivesorganizedinterviewswithkeyplayerscontributorsandstakeholdersandbegantheprocessofwritingthiswonderfulbooklet.AsParkgateCommunityServicesSocietycelebratesits30thanniversarywearepleasedtopresentthisshortpublicationTheRoadtoParkgateCommunityCentre.WewouldliketothankRacanforhisdiligenceinproducingarichshorthistoryofhowthecommunitycametogethertoensurethatweallhaveaplacetolivelifebetter.Weinviteyoutorememberandcelebrateourhistory.ChrisBurtPresident 3 4EarlybeginningsThehistoryofcommunityservicesandsocialprogrammingintheEastSeymourareadatesbacklongbeforeParkgateCommunityCentreParkgateorevenParkgateCommunityServicesSocietytheSocietywereestablished.In1983theDeepCoveDollartonCommunityProgramsSocietyDCDCPSwasregisteredasanot-for-profitcharitablesocietyandbeganoperatingoutofSeycoveCommunitySecondarySchoolSeycoveSchool.MaryHunterwhomovedwithherhusbandtotheEastSeymourareaoverfiftyyearsagoremembersfeelingthattheemergenceofacommunitycentrewasanaturalfitforherandagroupofengagedandenergeticpeopleputtingtheirrootsinthecommunity.AssheremembersItdbeabouthalfadozenofusandwemetinSeycoveSchoolandonethingledtoanother.In1988AnneMooiwhowouldgoontoplayanotableroleinthehistoryofParkgatebecameExecutiveDirectoroftheDCDCPS.AssheexplainsAtthattimetherewasacommunitycentreattachedtoSeycoveSchoolwhereprogramswereoffered.AccordingtoherDCDCPSrancommunityprogramsoutofthebottomofschoolhallswhichmayseemrathercrudetodaybutitwasatleastastart. 5TheDCDCPSchangeditsnametotheSeycoveCommunityProgramsSocietyin1994thenwasrenamedtheSeymourCommunityServicesSocietyin1998.FurtherchangesreflectedtheshiftingandgrowingnatureofthesurroundingcommunityculminatedintheestablishmentofParkgateCommunityServicesSocietyin2004asawayofembracingtheSocietysstillrelativelynewhomeatParkgate.WhenMaryinitiallybecameinvolvedintheEastSeymourareasheremembersthattheideaofwhateventuallybecameParkgatewasjustagleaminoureyesandahopebutshesproudthatwiththelabourandsupportofsomanymembersofthelocalcommunityitcameto.AfteraseriesofcommunitymeetingsMaryexplainsthatthegrouphadtodecidewhatpropertywewouldlookattobuildacommunitycentre.ThispropertyeventuallybecameParkgateandhashostedtheSocietyeversince. 6BuildingParkgateCommunityCentreWhiletheideaofParkgatehadalreadybeenaroundforyearsbasedonearlyDistrictofNorthVancouverDNVspeculationconcerninghowtheregionmightgrowinthefuturetheprocessofactuallybuildingthefacilitywasnosmallfeatandrequiredagreatdealofcommitmentandhardworkfrommembersofthelocalcommunity.WhatpromptedthedesiretobuildanewcommunitycentreFormerExecutiveDirectoroftheSocietyAnneMooiconciselystressesthatthecommunitygrewandsoneedsgrewtoo.ProgramsandservicesatthattimewerebeingrunoutofSeycoveCommunityCentreSCClocatedatSeycoveSchoolaswellasotherlocalschools.Naturallydemandforalargerfacilityandmoreprogrammingincreased.Annedescribesthatintheearly1990stherewerealotmoreseniorsthatweregettinginvolvedintheSCCanditwasrealizedthatthereneededtobemorespaceforthecommunityandseniorswereamongthosegroupsthatwasjustgrowingexponentially.AccordingtoAnneTheSCCatthetimewaspackedwithseniorsandyouthanditwasreallyphenomenal.ShearticulatesthattherewasarecognizeddesireformorespaceinitiallyforseniorsandthenfromthatandreallyfromtheongoinglobbyingofthecommunityParkgatebecameanideaofafacilitythatincludedseniorsandyouthandchildcareandallthesedifferentcomponents.ForAnne 7 8themostinterestingandinspiringelementoftheprojectwasthatthecommunityreallypulledtogetherandtherewasthiswholeexcitementaboutthepossibilitiesandthatshowParkgatecameabout.AsfaraswhatactualcommunityprogramstoprovideAnnenotesthatincludingcomponentslikechildcarebecameanimportantissuesincethiskindofservicehadneverbeenincludedinamunicipalbuildingbefore.MakingastrongpositionforchildcarewasimportanttoensuringthatchildcarewasincorporatedintoParkgate.AnneremembersthatseniorsprovidedmostofthecriticalsupportfortheinclusionoflicensedchildcareatParkgate.Ina1996referendumDNVresidentsoverwhelminglyapprovedthedevelopmentofParkgate.TheverynextyearatacommunityforummembersoftheEastSeymourarearevieweddesignoptionsforParkgateandwentwithwhatwaspopularlyknownasthecommunityoption.FormerSocietyChairVincentSantacroceremembersthatalthoughthedesireforlicensedchildcarehadbeenapprovedbyvotersinthe1996referendumtheDNVhadfirstindicateditwasnotplanningtoprovidelicensedchildcareinthenewcommunitycentre.VincentexplainsWhenthecommunitybroughttoourattentionthatchildcarewouldnotbeinthisfacilitytheBoardofDirectorswereofthemindthatifchildcarehadbeenmandatedbyareferendumthentherereallyoughtnotbeanychoiceinthematter. 9InararemovetheDNVchosethecommunityoptionoveritsownproposeddesignsresultinginthechildcarecentreatParkgate.ForVincethegrassrootsrallytomakesurethatpromisedservicesweregoingtobedeliveredsetkeyprecedentsthathaveguidedParkgateandtheSocietyeversince.HestatesItobviouslybroughtinthelicensedchildcarewhichhasbeenaveryimportantcomponentofParkgategoingforwardanditalsogavetheSocietythissenseofhowitcouldhavedirectimpactonbricksandmortar.Thecommunityoptionwasthemostinclusiveofthechoicesavailableatthe1997communityforumsinceitcalledfornotonlylicensedchildcarebutalsoaseniorscentreandayouthcentrehelpingtoensurethatParkgatewouldtrulybecomeahomeforallages. 10WhenParkgateandthemuchsought-afterlicensedchildcarefinallyopenedin1999formerSeniorsServicesSupervisorDeeNorrisremembersthatamajorchallengewastofindanddevelopprogramsusingvolunteerstorunthemandgetpeopleintoParkgate.Butdespiteanyinitialgrowingpainsafteryearsofdelaysandchallengesthegorgeousnew50000squarefeetcommunitycentrewasopenandreadytomeettheneedsofthelocalcommunity.TheGovernancemodelIn1994theSocietyandtheNorthVancouverRecreationCommissionNVRCenteredintoaformalpartnershiptoprovideprogramsandservicestothelocalcommunityatParkgate.Thispartnershiphascontinuedforalmosttwentyyearsandhasconstantlyexpandedtomeetthedynamicneedsofthecommunity.AccordingtocurrentExecutiveDirectorLisaReindersthegoalofthepartnershipwastobringtothetablethestrengthsofbothorganizations.LisastatesTheNVRChelpstoprovideexceptionalrecreationservicesincludingaweightroomfitnesscentreandotherfacilitiesalongwithagreatstaffwhileanorganizationliketheSocietycontributesitsstrengthofbeingaleaderincommunitydevelopmentandprovidinginnovativecommunitydrivenprogramsandservices.ForLisawhatmakesthepartnershipdifferentfromothermoreconventionalrecreationcentresisthatwithinourmandateandwithinthe 11partnershipwearetoconnectwiththecommunitydeterminewhattheirneedsareandthencreateourprogrammingbasedonthat.VincentSantacrocedescribesUnderouroriginallyproposedmodeltheSocietywouldoperatetheentirefacilityandthenbasicallypartnerwithotherorganizationstodelivercertainservicessuchasfitness.VincentbelievesthatthejointgovernancemodeloffersthebestofbothworldssinceParkgateultimatelyenjoysallthebenefitsoftheNVRCsexpertiseandexperiencewhilebeingabletoexerciseagreatdealofcustomizedandcreativecommunityservicesandprograms.ThispartnershipmightseemtomakealotofintuitivesensenowhoweverAnneMooinotesthatthegovernancemodelseemedremarkablynewinthebeginningsinceanot-for-profitsocietygoingintoapublicmunicipalfacilityhadneverhappenedbeforeontheNorthShore. 12SheexplainsthattheSocietyworkedwiththeDNVandtheNVRCtocomeupwithanoperatingagreementthatwouldseetheSocietyandthemunicipalityjointlyprovideoversight.ToencourageordinarymembersofthecommunitytogetinvolvedandparticipateVincentpointstothedecisionoftheSocietytoinstitutelimitedtermsfortheBoardofDirectorsasakeypartofnurturinglocalengagement.WhenyoureamemberoftheSocietysBoardyoumayonlyservefortwothree-yeartermsheexplainsbecauseitsimportanttobringinnewpeopleotherwiseyourejustplayingthesamenoteoverandoveragain.Accordingtohimthemovehasprovenagoodone.HestatesWevehadasuccessionofChairsandBoardmembersandeveryoneisjustbetterthanthenext.DeeNorrisalsobelievesthatusingthecommunityonyourBoardandinteractingwiththepeoplethereisanessentialcomponentoftheParkgategovernancemodelbecausethatcreatesthevaluesthatyouregoingtoworktowards.PraisinghowthatgovernancemodelhasworkedinpracticeVincentencouragesanyonewhohasnevervisitedParkgatetowalkaroundthisfacilityandotherthanveryobviousfitnessworkoutareastherestistakenupbysocialservicesseniorslicensedchildcareyouthandsoonthesearenottraditionalrecreationservices.YearslaterthegovernancemodeloftheSocietyandtheNVRCisaliveandwell. 13ProgramsandservicesTheSocietycontinuestoprovideadiverserangeofservicesforfamiliesseniorsandyouth.FromseniorsandyouthcentrestolicensedchildcareandtheskateboardparkParkgateservesasanimportanthubforthecommunitywheremanygenerationsintersectbeneathoneroof.AsVincentSantacroceemphasizesthecentreessentiallyfunctionsasaheartbeatofthecommunityandreallyprovidessomethingthatcantnecessarilybereducedtowriting.Vincentalsopointstotheimportanceofmulti-purposeroomsincontributingtoParkgatesabilitytorespondtotheneedsofthecommunityinofferingnewandinnovativeservices.Multi-purposeroomsserveascatch-allspaceswheremembersofthelocalareacanconnectmeetandorganizeforcommunity-buildingpurposes.Accordingtohimtheleastenticingnameyoucangivearoomisamulti-purposeroomandyetitisthemostpowerfulspacebecausea 14poolismostlyjustapoolitslimited.HeassertsthatfacilitieslikeParkgatecapitalizeonthesekindsofroomsthesenon-enticingutilitarianmulti-purposeroomsbecausetheycanprovidetheservicesidentifiedbytheneedsofthecom-munity.LeadingseniorsadvocateMaryHunterdescribesParkgateasafriendlycommunityemphasizingthatweveworkedhardtomakeitahomeawayfromhomeforallgenerations.Multi-purposeroomsarethetipoftheicebergintermsoftheservicesParkgateprovidestothelocalcommunity.ParkgateCommunityCentrenowandinthefutureSonowthattheSocietyhasreachedanothermajormilestoneincelebratingits30thanniversarywhatdoesthefutureholdCurrentExecutiveDirectorLisaReindersstatesthattheSocietyhastocontinuetoflourishandbeastrongorganizationforfamiliesseniorsandyouthwithintheEastSeymourarea.Thewisdomandforesighttostaycurrentandtoanticipatehowthesurroundingcommunitywillbedifferentinthecomingyearsisalsoessential.AsLisaemphasizesthekeyisinknowingwhatsortofchangeswillhappeninEastSeymourandbeingawareofwhatmightchangeoverthenexttwoorthreeyearsbybeingflexibleenoughtomeetthosechanges.She 15mentionstherecentrenovationoftheParkgateCommunityKitchenasofferingarealopportunityforsocialprogrammingaswellasallowingforsomeofthosespecialtyprogramswhereyoumightbringinachefandhaveallthepeoplecomeinandlearnanewstyleofcooking.AccordingtoLisaacommunitygardenmightalsoeventuallybecomepartofaprogramwhichwouldallowforgrowingvegetablesfromthegardenandthenutilizingtheminafoodprogram.ClearlythereareplentyofopportunitiesfornewprogramsthattheSocietycancontinuetoexploreinthefuture.LisaalsogivestherecentlydevelopedCedarSpringsRetirementResidenceCedarSpringsasanexampleofaprojectthatwillsignificantlychangethenearbyarea.AsshearticulatesItwillincreasetheseniorpopulationwithintheareawhichmeansthattheSocietywillhavetodeterminehowthoseshiftingdemographicsmightcreateaneedforadditionalseniorservicesatParkgate.LisahopesthatParkgatecangraduallyformaconnectionwithCedarSpringsthatmightallowforlocalseniorstogotothemforsomeprogramsandgotoParkgateforothers.FindingoutwhatresourcesbothfacilitiescanofferandhelpingseniorswhorelyonParkgateandCedarSpringstoconnectwitheachothermayevenhelptocreateanewpartnershipthatcanpotentiallythriveifgivenenoughearlyattentionandfocus.LisaalsonotesthattheSocietyneedstowatchforanincreaseofyoungfamiliesenteringthecommunityandwondersifeventuallytheSocietywillhavetoadjustprogramminginmeetingtheneedsofyoungfamilieswithinEastSeymour 16AnneMooibelievesthatthefutureremainsasbrightaseverforParkgategiventheSocietysprovenmethodofrespondingfairlydirectlyandquicklytotheneedsofthecommunity.VincentfeelsthattheSocietysabilitytolearnadaptandleadisbestrepresentedbythecommunity-buildingandengagementenshrinedintheParkgatemodel.MaryHunterhopesthattheSocietywillsimplycontinuewiththesamespiritthathasmadeitsuchasuccesssofar.IftherecentpastprovidesanyindicationtheSocietyshouldhavenotroubleenjoyinganotherthirtyyearsofbeingacriticalhubofcommunitylifeforfamiliesseniorsandyouthintheEastSeymourarea.ParkgateasamodelforothercommunitiesMembersoftheSocietyquicklyrealizedthatthesuccessfulpartnershipofanot-for-profitorganizationandamunicipalrecreationcommissionworkinginconcerttoprovideimportantcommunityservicescouldserveasapotentialmodeltoothercommunities.FormerBoardmembersDarrylCondonandVincentSantacrocealongwithAnneMooiwereofferedplentyofchancestosharetheirexperienceatParkgatewithothercommunities.In2007theyvisitedtheNationalConferenceontheValuesofPartnershipsinOttawatogiveapresentationonhowtheirmodelwasimplementedatParkgate.AccordingtoVincenttherewasabuzzsurroundingthepresentationbeforethegrouphadevenarrived.Itturnedoutitwasthehighestenrolledpresentationherecallswithoverahundredeagerlistenerspackingtheaudience.AstestamenttohowuniquetheirapproachtrulywasatthetimeVincentrememberstheaudiencebeingsurprisedathowthepartnershipcouldwork 17evenfromthemostbasiclevelofhavingnot-for-profitsocietyemployeesandmunicipalemployeesreporttoeachotherletalonehowsuchagovernancemodelcouldfunctionineverydaypractice.Togetthepointacrosstotheaudiencethatallthemodeltooktogetoffthegroundandprosperwasagroupofengagedandenergeticmembersofthecommunityhestressesthatourthemethroughoutthepresentationwasthatyoucanmakeanythingworkprovidedyoubuyintotheoverallphilosophythatyouwanttomakeitworkbecauseitsforthebettermentofthecommunity.Anneadmitsthatapartnershipbetweenanot-for-profitsocietyandamunicipalityisuniquebutassertsthatsuchanapproachisbettersuitedtomeetingtheneedsofthecommunitythanatraditionalrecreationcentremodelsimplybecauseYouhavemembersofthecommunitythatcareaboutthefacilitycareabouttheservicesandarereallyatthegroundlevelwithothercommunitymembers.Soyoubasicallygetpeoplesenergiesandtheirconnectionswiththecommunitysothateverythingcomesintoplaywhenyoureprovidingservices.LisaReindersexplainsthatifweweregoingtotalktoanothercommunitythatwaslookingatthequestionofcreatingapartnershipbetweenanot-for-profitsocietyandamunicipalorganizationIwouldsaythatitreallydoesdrawonthestrengthsofbothorganizationstoprovidefortheneedsofthecommunity.VincentalsoagreesarguingthattheParkgatemodelhasaccomplishedthingsthatarejustnotwithinthescopeofotherrecreationcentresmostnotablylicensedchildcare.Heencouragespotentialcommunitiesthatiftheytaketheideaofcombiningcommunityresourceswithamunicipalitytodeliversomethingthatsreallyuniquetothecommunityyou 18youcandothatanywhere.OthercommunitiesthroughoutCanadacontinuetoexpressakeeninterestintheexamplesetbytheParkgateCommunityServicesSociety.AndwhocanblamethemInalllikelihoodthistrendwillonlycontinueasotherareasofthecountryseekfornewwaystoengageandworkwiththeirlocalcommunities. 19Importantchronologicaldates1974BurrardViewSchoolAssociationestablishesinformationcentreasameansofbuildingCommunityandconnectingneighbourswitheachother.1979SeycoveCommunitySecondarySchoolopensBurrardViewSchoolinformationcentreandothercommunityservicesrelocatedtothecommunitywingofSeycoveCommunitySecondarySchool.SeycovecommunitywingoftheschoolrenamedtheSeycoveCommunityCentre.1983DeepCoveDollartonCommunityProgramsSocietyisregisteredasanot-for-profitcharitablesocietyandbeginsoperatingoutoftheSeycoveCommunityCentreeventuallyhometotheDeepCoveHeritageSocietytheSeymourArtGalleryandtheinformationcentre.1994SocietychangesitsnametoSeycoveCommunityProgramsSociety.FirstworkingagreementissignedwiththeNorthVancouverRecreationCommissionNVRCforservices.1996CommunityresidentsapprovereferendumtobuildParkgateCommunityCentre.1997CommunityforumheldtoreviewdesignoptionsforParkgateCommunityCentre. 201998SocietychangesitsnametoSeymourCommunityServicesSociety.NorthVancouverDistrictCouncilendorsesacommunitymanagementmodelforParkgateCommunityCentre.1999Officialopeningof50000squarefeetParkgateCommunityCentre.PartnershipAgreementsignedbetweentheSocietyandtheNorthVancouverRecreationCommissionNVRCforthejointoperationofParkgateCommunityCentre.2000ConstructionofSkateboardParkatParkgateCommunityCentre.2001BritishColumbiaRecreationParksAssociationAwardforFacilityExcellence.2004SocietychangesitsnametoParkgateCommunityServicesSociety.2010ParkgateCommunityServiceSocietyre-brandswithnewlogo2012ParkgateCommunityServicesSocietylaunchesnewwebsite2013ParkgateCommunityServicesSociety-30thAnniversary. 21AcknowledgmentsIwouldliketothankLisaReindersCarol-AnneRobertsandJamieTurnerfortheirkindnessandencouragementbyallowingmetoworkonsuchanimportantandinspiringproject.IalsowishtothankVincentSantacroceMaryHunterAnneMooiDeeNorrisandLisaReindersforopeninguptoarelativeoutsiderabouttheirvividexperiencesatParkgate.MoreofmygratitudeisgivenfortheinvaluableassistanceandresourcesoftheDeepCoveHeritageSociety.LastlyIwouldliketoacknowledgethehelpandsupportofKristinCheungJohnLutzKevinSandgrenandDr.PaulSaunders.RacanSouiedanBiographyRacanSouiedanisaFirstClassHonoursgraduateinhistoryfromSimonFraserUniversityandaMasterofArtsgraduateinhistoryfromtheUniversityofVictoria.HehasvolunteeredinthepastfororganizationssuchastheVancouverMaritimeMuseumtheCityofVancouverArchivesLIFTLearningisFirstandtheDavidSuzukiFoundation.HehasalsoworkedasaresearchandteachingassistantforSimonFraserUniversityandtheUniversityofVictoriaandtaughtatseveralprivateschoolsintheLowerMainland.RacanhaswrittendozensofarticlesandpresentedathistoryconferencesthroughoutthePacificNorthwest.Hecurrentlyworksasaninvestigativeresearcherforaninternationalriskmanagementfirm.-Frontandbackcoverphotographswww.harookz.com 22www.myparkgate.comParkgateCommunityCentre3625BanffCourtNorthVancouverBCPhone604-983-6350