Skip Triplett is reviewing how gambling profits should be shared with community groups in B.C. A forum will be held in Surrey on Wednesday (Sept. 7).

Groups to have their say on gaming grants

Issue to be aired at public forum in Surrey on Sept. 7.

Community groups will get their say Wednesday on how the province should share its gambling profits with local charities.

B.C.’s Community Gaming Grant Review will be at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Newton campus in Surrey for a public forum running from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The review, appointed by the premier in July, is headed by former Kwantlen president Skip Triplett.

Many groups were outraged in 2009 when the province cut grants to community groups from $156 million to $120 million a year to shore up B.C.’s recession-ravaged budget. That was raised to $135 million this year.

Triplett told Black Press at a forum in Williams Lake many presenters to the review are calling for more gaming funds to be funneled into community grants and for more stable, multi-year funding as well as a simplified system of processing applications.

The review has also heard calls for a more independent system of administering grants that’s free from government interference and a reinstatement of funding for environmental, animal welfare and adult arts and sports groups that lost funding.

More than two thirds of the $1 billion a year in revenue that comes to the province from gambling goes into general revenue, with another $147 million dedicated to health funding, $82 million shared with cities that host casinos or community gaming centres and the rest shared with community groups.

Triplett’s findings are due by Oct. 31. He’s expected to provide the government with a range of options, rather than specific recommendations.

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