NEWS

Community groups frustrated by gaming grant review delay

01/04/2012 02:03 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST

Groups that depend on provincial gaming grants say they're frustrated the B.C. government has not yet released the results of a long-awaited review.

In July, Premier Christy Clark announced a major review of the province's gaming grants program, which distributes gambling revenue to community groups. The report, which is being conducted by former Kwantlen Polytechnic University president Skip Triplett, was to have been released by the end of December.

But Andrew Laurenson, the artistic director of the Radix Theatre in Vancouver, says he's heard nothing yet. Laurenson says the group's last grant ran out in May and staff have since been forced to cut costs.

"We are money managers. We have budgets. We are trying to operate companies to do our work in the community and we need to know what kinds of revenues we have so we can do adequate planning," he said.

"The government is just being disrespectful by not following through on what they said they were going to do."

'Worst possible scenario'

Susan Marsden, the president of the B.C. Association for Charitable Gaming, says it's frustrating.

"We have absolutely no idea what's going on, which is the worst possible scenario for an organization that counts every nickel and dime down to the penny," she said.

In an email to CBC News, the province said the review would be released "early in the new year."

"It was initially anticipated that government would release the report and announce next steps within a 60-day period," read the statement. "But these are important decisions and additional work is required in order to thoroughly review the report and determine next steps based on options provided."

New Democrat MLA Shane Simpson said that response is inadequate.

"My understanding was Mr. Triplett was not making specific recommendations. He was presenting options for the government to look at," Simpson said.

"It would seem to me that those options should be put out to the public and people should get a chance to have that conversation about what they think about those choices before the government moves ahead on making any decisions."

Simpson has submitted a written complaint to the premier's office the missed deadline.

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