The Lakes Outdoor Recreation Society (LORS) has been denied its application for a provincial gaming grant worth $50,000.
The grant application, which represents the entire LORS budget for 2014, was denied on the grounds that the trail and recreation site maintenance program is ineligible for funding under gaming grant guidelines.
The LORS program, according to a rejection letter from the B.C. ministry of finance, is ineligible for funds because it is already funded by a Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., and gaming grant funds cannot be used to reduce or replace existing government funding.
Although the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) does fund the LORS trail program through Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., the agency would prefer to see other funding models in place (see Lakes District News, ‘Rec sites safe for another year’ March 27, 2013).
Lynn Synotte, LORS president, has contacted other directors to discuss options, and expects to meet within a week.
Last year, LORS faced a funding crisis over its contract to maintain the 30 rec sites, seven trails and two parks within the Lakes District. The society has been maintaining the sites for more than 10 years, after it was formed in 2002 in response to a possible closure of many sites.
Under MFLNRO contract, LORS maintains the sites and trails by contracting with local landscapers.
Last year’s funding shortfall of more than $30,000 was a challenge, but the Bulkley Valley Credit Union donated $10,000, and the province contributed most of the balance.
Although the Lakes District was not really in danger of losing its outdoor recreation facilities – the province would have stepped in to cover the shortfall – there is no guarantee that future provincial budgets will be able to accommodate LORS funding shortfalls.