Clark restores some gambling grants

Premier Christy Clark and Community

Premier Christy Clark made good on her campaign promise to restore $15 million in grants to community and sports organizations Thursday, promising more to come.

The new funds represent less than half of what was cut two years ago when proceeds from B.C. casinos and lotteries were cut. Clark announced in Vancouver that the latest funds will bring more than 500 organizations back up to “historical funding levels,” including youth arts and culture groups, community service clubs, fairs, festivals, museums and organizations involved in community education like parent support services.

When the recession hit in 2008, the B.C. Liberal government cut grant funding from the B.C. Lottery Corp. from $156 million to $113 million, then raised it back to $120 million to restore funds to school district parent advisory councils.

NDP critic Shane Simpson said the government should restore the remaining $21 million, from casino and lottery proceeds that now total about $1 billion a year to the B.C. government.

Clark said the $15 million would also provide additional funds for transition houses, food banks and drop-in centres, whose core funding was maintained as the provincial budget slipped into deficit.

School district parent advisory councils will get an extra $5 per student, for a total of $20 for extracurricular sports and music programs. Parents of children in scouting or cadet groups will receive $25 per enrolled child to offset registration fees.

Former minister Rich Coleman announced the reallocation of lottery corporation grants in March 2010, and he had no apologies for making adult sports and arts organizations ineligible. The system was a patchwork in which some activities qualified and others didn’t, he said.

“Adult sports is done,” Coleman said at the time. “Why would we subsidize a guy who wants to play rugby with a bunch of adults who pay for their ice time?”

Coleman said the changes were overdue even without a recession. Programs for needy children were stretched while the B.C. government was giving $100,000 a year to a parrot refuge on Vancouver Island, and handing out grants to other groups without a clear idea of where the money was being spent.

The grants are now the responsibility of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong, and she indicated the general approach set out by Coleman hasn’t changed.

“We are now targeting extra gaming grant funding, over and above what we’ve provided in the past, to groups that help families and individuals who are struggling,” Chong said Thursday.

The cuts were an issue in the B.C. Liberal Party during its recent leadership contest. Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon, now the finance minister in Clark’s cabinet, promised during his campaign to restore grant funding to its 2008 peak, with three-year guarantees to stabilize their plans. He also proposed restoring funds for adult sports, culture and arts, with an overhauled approval process.

Just Posted

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

Hope’s Senior Mustangs drop close consolation match up

Fatigue plays a role as girls fall to host team Agassiz

What can $4 million get you in real estate in Chilliwack vs. other places in B.C.?

A 78-acre property with a large house – or you could get a condo in Vancouver or an estate mansion in 100 Mile House

Widespread concerns spur UFV to halt international enrolment growth

New target hopes to limit international students to 20% of all enrolment to give time to ‘catch up’

UFV & other B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Most Read