VICTORIA (June 10, 2021) – After 15 months of requests for help from the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), Premier John Horgan told British Columbians that he would do what it takes to save the PNE. Today, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond highlighted the NDP government’s hypocrisy after the PNE President admitted the province was not listening to their concerns about the urgent aid needed to keep the iconic B.C. institution from closing forever.
“We have applied for the Major Attractions funding of $1M but our requests for additional consideration from the Province (based on our impact, size and reach) are falling on deaf ears. While we are very grateful for the opportunity to access $1M in grant funding, the PNE is in the same $1M category with attractions that have 150 employees, 75k visitors a year and generate less than $5M in annual revenues. This funding could be life saving for those smaller organizations. But the PNE generates $60M a year in revenues, has over $2 million guests and 4300 employees. That is 29 times more employees, 33 times more guests than others in the same category. The proportionality of the program isn’t balanced. And interestingly, Fairs and festivals are not even eligible for this funding – we are only able to apply through Playland – so it was not designed to support organizations like ours… We DO NEED the Province to recognize that the PNE is worth investing in this one time. All other large Fairs across Canada get regular annual Provincial support in the millions. We get ZERO. I don’t think its too much to ask to help save this iconic, beloved 111 year old institution.” – PNE President Shelley Frost