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Mixed results on gaming grants for sports clubs

Some will receive 20 per cent of what they asked for, others will get nothing

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Sports groups across the Sea to Sky corridor got a clearer picture of their financial future last Friday when they heard back from the provincial government about their gaming grant applications.

The results were mixed, with some groups receiving about 20 per cent of the money they asked for and other groups receiving nothing.

Nigel Loring from the Whistler Mountain Ski Club considers his group one of the lucky ones.

"Even though it is frustrating, it is frustrating for a lot of sports and culture-based organizations," said Loring, whose club got 18 per cent of the money they asked for this year through the province's Direct Access gaming grant program.

"The reality is that times are tough, and everybody is feeling the pinch."

What the funding cut will mean to the 41-year-old ski club hasn't been determined yet, said Loring, but it will affect their operations. Whistler Mountain Ski Club is already stretched thin as it is.

"This is a pretty big blow just as our season is ramping up, but we are lucky to have something even though it was much less than we had anticipated," he said.

The Whistler Gymnastics Club and the Squamish Pirates Swim Club also are receiving 20 per cent of their grant requests.

On the other hand, the provincial government denied gaming grant applications from Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP), B.C. Luge, and the B.C. Bobsleigh Skeleton Association.

All three groups have never received Direct Access grants before.

"It just means that instead of bringing the program fees down for participants, they will remain the same as what they were in the past," said Nicole Simon, program coordinator for B.C. Luge.

"We won't be able to subsidize anything... It will all be 100 per cent funded by participants."

Nonprofit groups from all sectors around the province have been feeling the financial belt tightening this year as the B.C. government downsizes their Direct Access gaming grant program.

The program is funded by the province's gaming and lottery revenue and provides up to $100,000 in funds to local non-profit organizations or up to $250,000 to province-wide non-profits.

Earlier this month, the Whistlers Arts Council and Whistler Museum and Archives both learned they won't receive any money from Direct Access this year.

The Howe Sound Women's Centre in Squamish has also been scrambling over the past year to recover money it lost through the Direct Access Program.

The centre's interim executive director, Tara Fanz, said the group is applying for other grants and holding fundraisers like last week's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser.

"We found out earlier this year that we wouldn't' have money for this year," said Franz. "I have already put in an application for next year in the hopes that if we get it in earlier, we may hear back sooner."

 

 

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