Community grants could be cut because of COVID-19 shutdown, City councillor warns

Closure of Cascades Casino will mean a smaller share of profits, Rudy Storteboom predicts

Langley City Coun. Rudy Storteboom warned community grants will likely be affected by the loss of revenue from the Cascades Casino during the pandemic. (file)

Because of the COVID-19 shutdown of the Cascades Casino, Langley City may have less money for community grants next year.

Coun. Rudy Storteboom, a member of the City community grant committee, issued the warning on Monday, July 13, as City council prepared to approve more than $21,000 in grants to 12 City organizations.

“Because these funds come from casino revenues [and] because the casinos been shut down for so long the, available proceeds for community grants next year will be significant diminished,” Storteboom predicted.

Storteboom suggested the City should issue an advisory with the approval of the latest community grants.

READ ALSO: Councillors seek share of Langley City casino funds for Township

This year, the City set aside $168,000 of casino proceeds to provide community grants to organizations that “contribute to the general interest and advantage of the City,” as a report by Darrin Leite, the City director of corporate services put it.

In the first round of approvals, made in February, the council awarded more than $123,000 in community grants.

Council unanimously approved a second round of grants on Monday, to 12 recipients, including $4,500 to Southgate Church, $3,500 to Special Olympics Langley and $2,300 to Douglas Park Community School.

Cascades Casino shares 10 per cent of its net profits with the City, as required under gaming regulations.

Since the inception of the Community Grant Program in 2006 the City has distributed more than $1.8 million of Casino revenue to various groups.

The City share, more than $7 million in a good year for the casino, has kept taxes 2.5 per cent lower than they would have been without the gaming revenue and kept Langley City out of debt, the municipality has estimated.

Casino funds have also paid for $11 million of the new Timms Community Centre, as well as bridge deck repairs on 200 Street, Douglas Crescent rehabilitation between 204 Street and 208 Street, and work on 56 Avenue, among other things.

READ ALSO: Plexi-glass, hand sanitizer stations, and seating arrangements being considered for some B.C. casinos

As part of a province-wide lockdown to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) ordered the shutdown of all casinos, community gaming centres, and bingo halls on Monday, March 16.

The temporary closure of all gaming facilities follows the directive issued by Attorney General David Eby and announced today by Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry.

While there remains no set date for the casino to reopen , Gateway was able to re-open Match Eatery & Public House in June and Atlas Steak + Fish restaurant on Thursday, July 2.

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