NEWS

River Rock Casino revenue floated as stop-gap for social services

03/23/2015 11:37 EDT | Updated 05/23/2015 05:59 EDT
Richmond City Council is set to ratify a new spending plan for the money it makes from the River Rock Casino — but councillor Chak Au said the money could be better focused in a fund designed specifically to help social services in the city.

Last year, the River Rock Casino generated $21 million for the city — up 19 per cent from the year before, and the casino's profits are showing no signs of slowing down.

While most of the surplus revenue goes towards capital reserve accounts, paying down debt and funding RCMP officers, staff recommended establishing a Council Community Initiatives Account that would offer one-time initiatives to social, environmental, recreation and sports, heritage, arts and culture, safety and security and infrastructure projects.

"This fund actually duplicates what we already have set up. We have a grant program for recreation, arts and culture, social services and many other things," Au told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"We are just putting more money to do the same thing. I think we can be more creative and we can do better with the money."

Au is proposing the establishment of a social services stabilization fund that would be available to social service agencies facing funding cuts from other levels of government.

"This is a reality that we are facing. I know that people may argue this is not the jurisdiction of city government, however I think the reality is we have social service agencies facing funding cuts from time to time."

Au said he also wants to see more consultation with the public about how gaming revenues are spent.

To hear the full interview with Chak Au, click the audio labelled: Chak Au's proposal for River Rock Revenue.

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