Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall went to bat for local arts groups in the Legislative Assembly earlier this week when a $3 million fund saw money diverted to municipalities rather than community arts groups.
The money in question comes from a sports and arts legacy fund announced in the 2010 budget promising $10 million into the arts and culture sector annually for three years.
Mungall said in a press release that cities like Mission received surprise cheques in the mail for spending on upcoming anniversary celebrations without any request or process, while community arts groups’ applications have been rejected.
“Arts organizations are struggling in BC as a result of cuts… the deepest cuts to the arts in BC history,” said Mungall, adding that the Nelson and District Arts Council laid off staff and closed its doors.
“To make matters worse, the minister won’t disclose how she’s spending the full amount of this pot of money,” she said.
Mungall said having these funds awarded without formal request puts extra strain on local arts groups who’ve experiences large cutbacks. The Minister of Community, Sports and Cultural Development was questioned by Mungall for not disclosing how the full amount is being spent.
“We’re talking about a pot of $3 million. Not all of it was spent on these municipal celebrations,” said the NDP MLA to the minister. “While they are worthwhile celebrations, the issue is about yet another Liberal hidden process involving taxpayer dollars.”