Parrot refuge head hopes to see gaming grant restored

Cuts forced parrot people to scramble to keep the doors open and the birdseed coming

World Parrot Refuge head Wendy Huntbatch shows off one of her pieces of parrot art.

Wendy Huntbatch would be delighted if her World Parrot Refuge in Coombs is able to get a provincial government gaming grant again, but she says she won’t find out until some time next month whether she did.

Premier Christy Clark this week announced $15 million in increased funding for community groups through the gaming grant program, adding that groups previously deemed ineligible will now be able to apply.

Contacted in Vancouver, Huntbatch said her organization has been scrambling to come up with enough funds to operate since they lost approximately $100,000 in grants when the provincial government cut back the program in 2010.

“It would be very good for me because I wouldn’t have to stress about fundraising all the time,” Huntbatch said. “Since they cut the grants they’ve put up the minimum wage twice, EI and CPP are also going up and everything we buy for the birds has gone through the roof. A bag of walnuts went up by $9, which really adds up when you buy five bags a day. The price of peanuts has also gone through the roof.”

Since losing the grant, Huntbatch and her group have racked their brains to find innovative ways to bring in enough money to keep going, including opening a thrift store on the site and selling paintings done by the parrots themselves.

Huntbatch said she has applied for a gaming grant under the educational category, noting her facility provides a great deal of education as part of its mandate.

“I haven’t heard anything yet,” she said. “I probably won’t hear until February.”

Although he said he hoped the sanctuary — along with the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in nearby Errington — get their grants back, Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser was critical of the announcement, noting the Liberal government gave out $156 million in 2008, a total that was later cut to $120 million. The $15 million added to the pot, he said, still leaves a shortfall of $26 million.

“They did a $36 million cut and made a bunch of groups ineligible,” he said. “She reinstated the funding for those groups that may have weathered the devastation of losing their funds, but the money has to be spread out to all the groups — and it’s $26 million short of what it was in 2008.”

 

news@pqbnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Touring exhibit from Royal B.C. Museum highlights First Nations languages

Qualicum Beach Museum will be home to a variety of interactive stations

‘Dirty Money’ in Nanoose Bay: Dr. Peter German to speak at ElderCollege

‘This is an evolving study’: presenting up-to-date information on B.C. organized crime

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to campaign in Port Alberni

Singh joins Courtenay-Alberni candidate for rally to kick off final weekend before election

Winter preparation underway for mid-Island highways

Drivers reminded to ready vehicles for changing conditions

Qualicum Beach council discusses helping out Orca Place residents

Town considers offer of temporary jobs in the future

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Everything you need to know before getting the flu shot

Island pharmacist shares concerns, recommendations before flu season hits

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Most Read