Cash-strapped arts groups celebrated yesterday as the provincial government announced it is honouring the three-year community gaming grants that were scrapped last week.

Some recipients of the three-year grants had spent the money, putting on productions and paying artists based on the promised cash. Last week, they were pitched into financial turmoil after they received notice the money would not be coming.

In a press release, Housing Minister Rich Coleman announced he had reversed the decision and full funding would be restored to groups that were promised multi-year funding.

“It’s huge, huge, huge,” said Susanna Uchatius, the artistic director of Theatre Terrific, a troupe whose members include artists with developmental, physical and mental heath issues.

Theatre Terrific’s general manager left in July. They were in the midst of hiring a replacement when they received word the grants were being cancelled.

“It means we can hire a GM. That’s what it means.”

NDP tourism, arts and culture critic Spencer Herbert said the reversal was a “small victory” for the 540 groups that depend on the multi-year grants. He predicted future cuts (of around 80 per cent) to arts funding.

“It’s a small victory out of a very ugly future for arts and culture in B.C.”

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