Vancouver city council votes unanimously to reject casino expansion

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      Vancouver city council has voted unanimously to reject a proposal to expand Edgewater Casino.

      At a council debate today on the proposed casino complex, Mayor Gregor Robertson introduced an amended set of recommendations that called for council to refuse any increase in gambling opportunities there. All councillors supported the motion.

      Council also supported Robertson's recommendation to impose a moratorium on "any and all applications to expand gambling and/or gaming venues in the City of Vancouver," until the B.C. Lottery Corporation undertakes a comprehensive public consultation on the issue.

      "After hearing all sides of the issue and weighing the options, I personally do not believe the expansion of gambling is the right direction for the future of Vancouver," said Robertson.

      Council did vote to allow the relocation of Edgewater Casino.

      In advance of the decision, many councillors spoke to concerns about the expansion of gambling.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said it's clear a casino the size Paragon Gaming proposed next to B.C. Place "is not how the people of Vancouver see their city".

      While NPA councillor Suzanne Anton voted in favour of the motion, she said she would have supported the casino expansion.

      Council's move was applauded by Vancouver, Not Vegas, a coalition that formed in opposition to gambling expansion in the city.

      Sandy Garossino, spokesperson for the coalition, said she was "very, very happy" with council's decision.

      "This city has already gone through enormous public debate and turmoil over gambling," Garossino told reporters.

      "I think it is really time, not only in the City of Vancouver but also in the province of British Columbia, for us all to look at what is the proper role of casinos and lottery revenue in the province, and in the cities," she added. "To what extent are we relying on addiction?"

      David Podmore said the B.C. Pavilion Corporation needs to take time to study the resolution that council approved before determining the next step.

      Paragon Gaming president Scott Menke echoed the need to examine the motion, and wouldn't say whether the company will consider moving Edgewater at its current size to the proposed B.C. Place location.

      "We're certainly disappointed in today's outcome, but we stand committed to our employees and the supporters in our efforts to find a permanent destination in the Lower Mainland," he told reporters.

      "We will do everything possible to stay committed to not only our vision in the community, to our employees, and most importantly the viability of working with the community."

      The proposed $500-million casino/hotel complex, which would have been the largest in western Canada, included two hotels, restaurants and bars, and 1,500 slot machines.

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      11 Comments

      Taxpayers R Us

      Apr 19, 2011 at 4:25pm

      Seems like Robertson may be learning from his mistakes with the bike lanes and West End development.

      A mayor can't pretend to listen to his constituents reject his proposals while ordering that construction starts while the hearing is still in session.

      Doesn't make him any better though, the guy's still grossly irresponsible with the public purse and his anti-democratic views won't help when he's removed from office..

      glen p robbins

      Apr 19, 2011 at 4:45pm

      The sign of a good politician particularly one facing an election a few months away with the need to achieve 51% to win is the ability to face certain truths. The truth of this debate evidenced by a number of polls certainly unrelated to one another - or part of any effort to push public relations - suggests at least 55% and probably closer to 60% of voters did not want this casino expansion.

      The casino expansion is ballot box number one for certain - these numbers would utimately leave Mr. Robertson with 40-45% - insufficient for re-election. His position is good politics on his part.

      I expect Gregor Robertson's re-election will help Dix more than Christy - given the latter's overwhelming ties to big developers who bought her election for her. Podmore et al are not going to be happy with this outcome--and will react with some bitterness to be sure.

      Christy will look at this - and say should I go early knowing full well that an early call could hurt her as much as help her -- and a late call grows the BC Conservatives.

      Sandra Deyes

      Apr 19, 2011 at 5:05pm

      Surprise, surprise, no-fun Vancouver votes to block a project that would have created jobs and boosted tourism for our city! Thank goodness Gregor wasn't around when the Olympic bid was up or think of the awesomeness we would have missed out on.

      Kristina Baerg

      Apr 19, 2011 at 8:48pm

      A sane decision in an insane province/ Country. Thank you Mayor et al. for a little bit of hope that things can change. Big business should not be the only or even a primary voice shaping our communities and our lives.

      14 7Rating: +7

      Andrew

      Apr 20, 2011 at 7:46am

      A loser in this process is the credibility of the City of Vancouver's Planning department. During the Casino rezoning project planning staff worked hand in hand with the applicant to push for council's approval. The public's opinions were summarily dismissed and the developer biased staff presentation on February 8th was simply out of line. It's time for the Director of Planning Brent Toderian to step down.

      Lucas Schuller

      Apr 20, 2011 at 8:18am

      "While NPA councillor Suzanne Anton voted in favour of the motion, she said she would have supported the casino expansion."

      Did she not understand the question?! If she wanted to support expansion, vote against the motion! That's what votes are for.

      Congrats to council for doing what it's supposed to do: having a vision for the city and making the tough decisions that will bring it about.

      Ken Lawson

      Apr 20, 2011 at 8:42am

      This is one of the worst decisions in the 125 history of the City of Vancouver by a blundering and incompetant City Council and Mayor. The following must not be re-elected on Nov 19,2011 Robertson,Anton,Cadman, Chow,Deal,Jang,Louie, Meggs,Reimer,Stevenson and Woodworth. Oh by the way PAVCO does not have to listen to the City of Vancouver this is on provincial land they can go ahead or they can create a new region within the City of Vancouver (like Granville Island (Fed) I prefer a new region!

      skippy

      Apr 20, 2011 at 2:45pm

      No casino because of the ills of gambling but yes to a taxpayer subsidized shooting gallery where addicts can kill themselves with heroin. Why aren't these same principles applied to the casinos owned and operated by the first nation’s people. Perhaps that was the real agenda here recognition of the adverse affect of this casino proposed casino on those owned and operated by the first nations people. Lost are hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue

      Steven Forth

      Apr 20, 2011 at 6:28pm

      Hopefully this will kill the casino for good and force the Provincial Legislature to take a real look at the gambling dependency that our governments are developing. And a big thank you to all of the people who led the campaign against the casino and to Gregor Robinson and city council.

      13 8Rating: +5

      Steve Y

      Apr 20, 2011 at 7:35pm

      A proper city, Singapore, which is run for the best interests of its citizens and not NIMBY whiners rakes in 5.1 billion worth of gaming revenue while vancouver can't handle a tiny little casino. But i'm sure city officials will find work for the thousands of unemployed construction workers that could have used the work, right?

      http://www.cnbc.com/id/42657106/Singapore_On_Track_to_Overtake_Vegas_as_...