Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall questioned the Minister of Community, Sports and Cultural Development about a $3 million fund that saw money diverted to municipalities without any request or process while community arts groups’ application are rejected. Cities like Mission received surprise cheques in the mail for spending on upcoming anniversary celebrations. BC organizations like the Nelson and District Arts Council rely on stable funding and apply annually for assistance from the provincial government. To see funds awarded without formal requests puts an extra strain on local arts groups who’ve experienced the historic level cutbacks.
“Arts organizations are struggling across B.C. as a result of Liberal cuts — the deepest cuts to the arts in B.C. history. In my area, the Nelson and District Arts Council laid off staff and closed its doors. They have been hurt by Liberal cuts, and now, to make matters worse, the minister won’t disclose how she’s spending the full amount of this pot of money,” said Mungall in the Legislature.
Another issue Mungall has with the allocation of these funds is the apparent secrecy in how the remaining money will be spent.
“We’re talking about a pot of $3 million. Not all of it was spent on these municipal celebrations,” said Mungall to the minister, “While they are worthwhile celebrations, this issue is about yet another Liberal hidden process involving taxpayer dollars.
The money in question comes from a sports and arts legacy fund announced in the 2010 budget promising $10 million to the arts and culture sector annually for three years.
Joanna Maratta of the Nelson-based BC Touring Council finds the allocation of these funds worrisome. “There is only one year left of that Legacy money. What happens when that money is gone?”
MLA Michelle Mungall and the NDP Opposition will continue to stand up for Arts and Culture in this Province and continue to hold the Liberals accountable for their decisions.
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