Auditor General releases performance audit report on Park Board revenue management
Today, Vancouver’s Auditor General Mike Macdonell released a report on his audit of revenue management at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board).
The Park Board collects fees for various services that it provides. Some fees recover costs in whole or in part, whereas other fees are intended to generate surplus revenues to fund other services. Examples of fees collected include golf green fees, moorage fees at the Burrard Civic Marina and recreation admission passes at community centres. Between 2018 and 2022, the Park Board collected an average of $56.3 million annually from fees and charges.
The audit determined that while some processes were used to inform fee-setting, the Park Board did not operate an effective framework for achieving revenue-related objectives for its revenue-generating assets and services.
The audit found that the Park Board followed a consistent annual fee update process that was made available to the public and used different factors to inform fee-setting such as the rate of inflation, marketplace comparisons, accessibility and affordability.
However, the Park Board did not define the level of service it intended to deliver for all revenue-generating services and did not have a method for determining where user fees should and should not be charged or to what extent. The fee-setting process was not supported by evaluations of the full costs of service delivery, and performance metrics were defined for only some revenue-generating service areas.
The Park Board’s overall funding structure is set-out in the Vancouver Charter and requires it to obtain City Council approval for all expenditures, including the expenditure of funds generated from revenue-generating activities. The audit found that while the Park Board has strategies to guide the delivery of parks and recreation services, it had not proactively engaged with City Council to align its priorities with available funding.
The report contains six recommendations to enhance the Park Board’s ability to achieve its revenue objectives. The Park Board accepted all the recommendations and has provided action plans in response.
Mike Macdonell, Auditor General
“In some cases, facilities and services are provided by the Park Board at no or low cost, and for others it seeks to recover costs either fully or in part. However, setting the fees necessary to achieve cost recovery objectives requires the Park Board to have a comprehensive understanding of both the intended levels of service and the full costs to deliver those services. We found this understanding was incomplete,” Macdonell said.
“In addition, while the elected Park Board is independent of City Council, it can’t spend money without Council’s approval. This makes it essential for the Park Board to proactively engage City Council in its strategic planning to secure the funding necessary to bring its long-range plans to life. Other than its budgeting processes, we found this engagement lacking,” he said.
Macdonell concluded, “I am very pleased that the Park Board has accepted all six of my recommendations and look forward to seeing its actions plans brought to life in the coming months.”
Auditor General for the City of Vancouver
To view the report please visit the webpage