Bill Bennet

Bill Bennet

$253,000 of gaming grants given to Williams Lake charities

Four Williams Lake community organizations received $253,000 in gaming grants last week.

Four community organizations received a total of $253,000 in community gaming grants last week. Bill Bennett, minister of community sports and cultural development met with the recipients at the Child Development Centre on Second Avenue for a round table discussion to make the announcement and hear what the recipients have to offer the community.

“Part of my ministry includes giving away money, which in today’s fiscal climate is kind of rare. I think I’m one of the ministers that has a ministry that still has money in it. As long as people gamble and buy lottery tickets we’ll be OK,” Bennett said.

The community gaming program was reduced for about almost two years, however, when Christy Clark won the leadership and became premier, one of the very first things she did was re-established the community gaming fund to its original level, something that Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett fully supported, Bennett said.

He’d been in the Cariboo a few days on tour with Barnett to help celebrate community gaming grants in Quesnel and 100 Mile House as well as Williams Lake.

“When you see the things that the money buys, it really is a tremendous program. If I had my druthers, I’d enhance it and try to add more to it if it was possible. I know that the money each of your organizations receive will do lots of good things,” Bennett told the recipients.

The grants included $25,000 to the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, $75,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake, $60,000 to the Central Cariboo Hospice Palliative Care Society and $93,500 to the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association.

Lorraine Levitt executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters told Bennett she was extremely relieved to receive the grant.

“After the last year or two of uncertainty, this has been an exciting and surprising announcement,” Levitt said, adding she was relieved to see the short form of the application for gaming has been released.

Hospice society executive director Kate McDonough described her organization as “really small” and very appreciative of gaming funds that helped fund two palliative rooms and a family room at Deni House.

Diana French, chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society said her organization has been active since the 1990s when regions were developing land use management plans.

“We have a wide variety of interests— water specifically, and encouraging people to be water and waste wise. School programs are one of the main things we do and gaming funds help us continue to be active.”

CCCDCA executive director Nancy Gale said gaming grants have helped fund her organization’s activities for a long time.

“We’ve been around for 35 years and just did some renovations to the front of our building. One of the young tradesmen that came in here put his hands on his hip, looked up, and said, ‘it’s just smaller than I remember.’ We not only have kids, but we have grandkids that are coming to the CDC now,” Gale said.

The money will also help with the CDC’s outreach.

“This time in the gaming application we noted that crime prevention is a component so we’re trying to do some work in that area. If we know that we’ve got a youth that’s criminally involved and there are young kids in the family that are exposed then we’re hoping with this new infusion of gaming dollars we’ll be able to work more closely with the RCMP and make that connection between services that we provide and the community to find some ways to address those issues,” Gale said.

Mayor Kerry Cook said all of the recipients provide leadership in the community year after year and truly make a difference.

Levitt asked Bennett whether there will be a return to three-year funding terms for organizations, and heard he prefers the idea of the longer term.

“It would be a government policy change and I cannot make that on my own or make any promises, but I understand that it’s difficult to plan and it’s also an issue of being stressed not knowing if you’re going to have money from year to year,” Bennett said, adding the gaming program is “grossly oversubscribed,” receiving more applications for funds than there is money.

“It doesn’t hurt to have an MLA that’s bird-dogging the applications and finding out what their constituents have applied for,” Bennett added.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A detour via Mission Road is in place Sunday, Feb. 28 due to a vehicle incident. (Anna Fait photo)
Highway 97 closed south of Williams Lake Sunday morning, detour in place

Overnight, Williams Lake saw six centimetres of snowfall, according to Environment Canada

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read