Community gaming grants open February 1

$140 million in gambling cash up for grabs


VICTORIA – Community gaming revenues are a critical source of funding for many arts and culture organizations, and agricultural fairs, rodeos

are there to help you so contact us and we will help you.”

The presentation to association members aimed to help local organizations understand what information makes applications successful.

rural communities of the province, and educating those who attend about the importance of the sector to their communities. To qualify, not-for-profit


and museums are among those benefitting from the $140 million in gambling revenues the government administers each year. Twenty-nine agricultural fairs and rodeos, the BC Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions, and the BC Farm Museum shared $927,500 in community gaming grants during the last year, and the next round of funding will open February 1. “The government wants to

give you money to help your organizations,” says Community Gaming Grants Branch outreach manager Mike Sherman, speaking at the BC Fairs conference in Victoria in October. “Start your application process early; we

Fairs, festivals and

museums must apply under the Arts and Culture category. Organizations must be non- profits that intend to use the funds for the direct delivery of programs to communities. The maximum funding available is $100,000 for local organizations, $225,000 for regional ones, and $250,000 for province-wide organizations.

Applications should demonstrate that the programs will deliver a broad community benefit, are accessible and inclusive, and have community support. Agricultural events meet these criteria by showcasing the social, economic and cultural benefit of agriculture to the

$138,000 BC Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions (Surrey)

$100,000 Interior Provincial Exhibition Association (Armstrong)

$80,000 - Abbotsford Agrifair $70,000 – Prince George Agricultural and Historical Association

$50,000 Lower Fraser Valley Exhibition Association (Surrey)

$48,000 Vancouver Island Exhibition Association (Nanaimo)

$42,000 Arrowsmith Agricultural Association (Coombs) $40,000 Comox Valley Exhibition Association Fall Fair (Courtenay)

$38,000 Kamloops Exhibition Association $35,000 Bulkley Valley Agricultural and Industrial Association (Smithers)

$35,000 Chilliwack and District Agricultural Society $32,000 BC Agricultural Exposition Society (Barriere) $25,000 Alberni District Fall Fair $25,000 Cowichan Exhibition (Duncan) $25,000 North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association (Barriere)

organizations submitting applications must have a board no more than half the size of the voting membership. (A group governed by a board of five people should have a voting membership of 10, for example.) Board members should be democratically elected, at least two- thirds must be BC residents and all must be volunteers. The organization should not have earned more than $250,000 in the past 12 months through licensed gaming. Federal-provincial funding should not exceed 75% of total costs, and assets on

hand should be less than 50% of the previous fiscal year’s operating expenses. Organizations are limited to one application a year. Gaming revenues generate

hundreds of millions of dollars each year in BC. Community gaming grants are administered by a branch of the BC Ministry of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture. Grants are made to 5,000 not- for-profit organizations throughout BC each year. Applications are only accepted online through the government website. Mailed, faxed or emailed applications will not be accepted. Resources to help with applications are available at [].

Community Gaming Grants (2016-17) BC Fairs, Farm Museums, Agricultural Associations

$22,000 Dawson Creek and District Exhibition Association

$17,000 Nechako Valley Exhibition Association (Vanderhoof)

$16,500 Lakes District Fair Association (Francois Lake)

$16,000 Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo Association $15,000 Wycliffe Exhibition Association (Cranbrook) $15,000 Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association (Salmon Arm)

$14,000 BC Farm Museum Association (Fort Langley)

$11,000 Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association (Maple Ridge)

$11,000 Grassy Plains Community Hall Association (Burns Lake)

$10,000 Quesnel Agricultural and Exhibition Association

$8,000 Aldergrove Agricultural Fair and Festival Association

$7,500 Grand Forks and District Fall Fair $4,000 Ashcroft and District Fall Fair Association $2,500 Peachland Fall Fair


Overcoming obstacles

There’s something very exciting yet sobering about facing a new year, especially when memories of facing a new century still linger. Remember 2000 and the apprehension about what that momentous hour would do to things like our computers and our

Wannabe Farmer


economies? Now, entering the 18th year later, I find we still face

uncertainty. In spite of the atrocities in battle-torn countries, the trauma of summer wildfires, the scourge of drug overdose deaths, the explosion of road-rage and gun-related killings and even the trials of everyday living, it’s great to catch those glimpses of hope that we all long for. In saying that, my thoughts often turn to those folks who have had to rebuild their lives along with the physical structures essential to conducting their day-to- day activities. Lest you think I’m either purely negative or supremely

unrealistic in my outlook, join me in celebrating the resilience demonstrated by the people of BC. In conversation with Doug, a long-time resident of Williams Lake, it was encouraging to hear of new lines of communications between folks. For example, he noted that sharing individual stories of how folks dealt with fires and evacuations has created new avenues of communication. “Each story was unique and sharing them has

increased sharing with others, with mostly good results.” A side note: there have been a number of folks who

left that community but did not return and as a result, there is currently a shortage of workers, many in the service industry. Just a hint.

Less is more

Another example of good things happening is taking place here in the community where I live. After the initial establishment of a farmer’s organization more than 100 years ago and the negative rivalry with a second farm organization founded in the 1930s, the final steps for amalgamation of the two groups took place in 2017. In a community of the size of Powell River, it was evident to many that much more would be accomplished if folks could work together; consequently, and after several years of discussions and negotiations, it came to pass. As well as being a mostly positive and significant step

forward in the agricultural life of the Upper Sunshine Coast, it has come to the attention of a growing number of young farmers who are rising up to fill the increasing demand for locally produced food. Along with the food itself, new marketing opportunities have been developed, providing even greater revenue streams. Still in Powell River, the arrival of a number of Syrian families from their war-torn country has been an inspiration for me and, I’m convinced, for others as well. Delicious foods prepared and sold at local craft fairs may have become the inspiration for a possible business venture for at least one of these families. I realize these anecdotal examples may not seem like much compared with the huge farming operations within our province but they speak to the commitment men and women have to their chosen way of life. In my more than seven decades of living, I have never ceased to be amazed – and inspired – by how farmers rise up to overcome obstacles of every kind. It’s obvious that you love the land, care deeply about your animals and you love your chosen lifestyle.

Focus on hope So, what will 2018 hold? It would be gross insanity to

try to predict how things will play out for any of us, whether economically, politically or in any other way for that matter, but a major key to success remains the same as it has always been: let’s keep on encouraging each other; let’s keep focused on hope rather than obstacles; let’s never be too proud or hesitant to ask for help when we need it and let’s never stop believing in and fighting for what we have committed our lives to doing and being.

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