Mayor and Council
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
Dear Mayor Robertson and members of City Council:
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres to express our opposition to the proposed casino development in downtown Vancouver.
As you may know, many of our members, non-profit organizations in the visual, literary and media arts, are located in or near the city centre in Vancouver. In the past, non-profit charitable organizations in the arts and culture, and in other charitable sectors, have been used as a lever to justify the expansion of gambling in British Columbia. It has been argued that small amounts of money dispensed to charities through an ineffective and capricious bureaucracy offset the social ills associated with large-scale gambling, and justify the profits, and direct subsidies, taken away by commercial gambling operators.
If this was ever true, it is certainly not true at all now. Not only has the provincial government sharply diminished the amount of investment in the charitable sector through the Direct Access program, it disqualified most arts and culture organizations from applying for such funds, as an apparent punitive measure following community protests against provincial cuts to cultural investment.
We therefore wish to assure the Mayor and members of Council that, if you wish to respond to the social and economic problems with casino expansion identified within Councillor Woodsworth’s motion, you need not be worried that you are denying charities, and in particular arts and culture organizations, any revenue. You can choose to block the development of this ill-conceived project with a clear conscience, and with the support of our members.
President, Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC)