Public hearing begins at Vancouver City Hall on B.C. Place casino proposal

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      Update: Vancouver council wraps up first night of public hearings on B.C. Place casino proposal

      Vancouver city council chambers were packed Monday (March 7) evening as a public hearing on a proposal to build the largest casino complex in Western Canada began.

      A large crowd composed of employees from Edgewater Casino and opponents of the casino proposal filled the steps of city hall in advance of the hearing, as the Vancouver, Not Vegas group held a rally in opposition of the mega-casino plan.

      Among the crowd was Vancouver resident Isabel Minty. She said she's concerned about the potential for crime at the proposed complex.

      “Vancouver citizens are going to lose big time if we go here, and I do think a lot of folks are becoming aware that it’s lose-lose for ordinary citizens,” she said. “We don’t need this casino.”

      David Podmore, the chair of the B.C. Pavilion Corporation, and Michael Graydon, the president of the B.C. Lottery Corporation, were the first speakers to address council.

      Podmore said the relocated casino would create approximately 5,500 jobs during construction and 1,900 once completed. Graydon spoke to some of the public concerns that have been raised about the proposal, including the potential for problem gambling, noting that the "vast majority" of British Columbians gamble responsibly.

      The proposal would see Edgewater Casino relocated to a site adjacent to B.C. Place and expanded to three times its current size. The complex would include two hotels, restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues. The casino floor would cover 114,000 square feet and have 1,500 slots and 150 gambling tables.

      Mayor Gregor Robertson said there are currently 163 speakers on the list to address council on the issue. A second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m.

      Comments

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      14 Comments

      Xavier Sandoval

      Mar 7, 2011 at 10:36pm

      My main concern with this whole gambling thing in Vancouver is the sheer hypocrisy of it all. Gambling is addictive and destructive to society, more so than soft drugs like marijuana. If we are going to not just allow but encourage such addictive behaviour simply because it will create jobs and help the economy, shouldn't we be taking another look at our current drug laws? I mean really, imagine the amount of jobs and government revenue that would be created if relatively harmless drugs like marijuana were regulated and taxed the way tobacco and alcohol are (which by the way are far more harmful to society, along with gambling). Hey, if you want to expand casinos so that people spend what little disposable income (if any) they have, then stop being such a hypocrite and take a look at other alternatives that have traditionally been frowned upon.

      SteveF59

      Mar 8, 2011 at 12:11am

      Pavco and Paragon are running a bluff. Comments made by their hourly workers are meant to suggest that their jobs "are in danger". This is a bluff run by players who hold a weak hand.

      Podmore and Paragon want us to believe that PRESENT jobs are at risk. This argument is an crude attempt to blackmail Council into supporting a massive expansion of the casino.

      By frightening their own employees, they hope to frighten Council. The fact remains: no current jobs will be lost. Imaginary jobs at the proposed expansion will not materialize.

      No one proposes to shut down Edgewater. Hundreds of us propose to forbid the massive and mindless expansion of this casino. Wise people understand the difference.

      Extortionists are trying to muddy the difference. It's a very old shell game. Most of us are not so easily deceived.

      10 8Rating: +2

      Taxpayers R Us

      Mar 8, 2011 at 12:17am

      Wouldn't it be funny if the construction crews are getting geared up and engines running during the meeting? That's Robertson for you - he tried that with the new bike lanes on Hornby and lost opposition support.

      12 9Rating: +3

      Peter Dimitrov

      Mar 8, 2011 at 12:19am

      Mr. Graydon said: "the relocated casino would create approximately 5,500 jobs during construction and 1,900 once completed"...plus annual expected revenues to the city of $17 million - and what are the projected revenues for the Casino, and if they fail, how much less will the City get?

      Why has not the City done an impact assessment for a project of this size, identifying direct & indirect impacts, benefits, risks, mitigation measures, uncertainties, etc. I say table the decision until a well designed independent impact analysis is carried out, with terms of reference for the research identified via public consultation. After completion, release the research results to the public and give citizens more rights to decide development related issues such as these.

      Furthermore, are the rules of city governance the best they can be, or do we need to move to a Ward system?

      I expect, that for similar reasons behind Vancouver's approval of gambling slot expansion at Hastings Park - this project will be approved, perhaps with some modifications.

      Steve M.

      Mar 8, 2011 at 7:39am

      What is all this nonsense about "job creation"? It's not the ONLY reason we do things as a society. We could create 100,000 jobs in this city tomorrow if we declared war on Whistler and started mass recruitment and arming ourselves to the teeth.

      It's not the municipal government's job to "make jobs", it's to administer the municipality, and funding a casino does not serve the interests of the city.

      These stupid politicians should all loose their jobs, and we should shut down the BC Lotto Corporation, which is just another tax on the poor and hopeless anyhow.

      Rae. Chan

      Mar 8, 2011 at 10:38am

      BC Lotto Corporation is absurd and I wonder how it even came into being in the first place. It is common sense that gambling is addictive and there are tons of stories that gamblers lost jobs, went bankruptcy, commit crimes ... very sad and tragic and a huge cost for the city. The sign outside River Rock Casino in Richmond "Play with limit" is so hypocritical. The government should not have given in to private interests.

      RF

      Mar 8, 2011 at 12:47pm

      You know, I was just sitting here wondering, "What could Vancouver really, really use right now? Housing? Infrastructure upkeep? A Port Clean-up? Protection of heritage buildings? Any kind of political movement on the Downtown Eastside problems? Dumpster-free alleys? Buses that move faster than Rascals? Fixing that two year-old pothole in front of my building?"

      And then it came to me - a big ugly government-backed money-sucking gambling mega-hangar!

      Now we're moving forward!

      Ken Lawson

      Mar 8, 2011 at 3:38pm

      My main concern is about the wing nuts above I hope they never get into government, the last thing we need is complaining whiners like this, I'm for the Expanded Casino, and really do not care what you think but it is your right to voice opinions, but I may not agree with them, but I know you can at least read.

      8 8Rating: 0

      Julia S

      Mar 8, 2011 at 4:33pm

      Why not instead of making Vancouver into a mecca for shallow and meaningless entertainment, expand on the little bits of valuable culture here. Expand, maybe, on the arts and create jobs that way! Perhaps we should really reconsider our social values and where we put our money... we could just as easily go in a direction that could benefit society, as one that could degrade it.

      12 7Rating: +5

      Peter F

      Mar 8, 2011 at 6:12pm

      Xavier Sandoval - I support both the casino expansion and the legalization of marijuana. I believe that we all should be free to partake in our chosen vices. There was a time when most forms of gambling illegal and was treated the same as marijuana consumption. Eventually, we as a society realized that for the most part it was an individual decision. Yes there is harm to some but that harm was present with or without the additional revenue created by government regulated casinos.

      If we were to legalize marijuana, some people would be hurt. However, I think the freedom to consume pot is greater than the few that will be hurt. BTW, I do not smoke/eat/vapourize pot in any form.

      I think that those that support more freedoms in what we do with our money and put in our bodies need to ensure that we support one another causes.