Vancouver Not Vegas hopes to put the brakes on B.C. Place casino
Most Vancouver residents would like to see city hall either reject a development permit application for a casino near B.C. Place or postpone its decision on the matter.
That's according to a new poll, conducted by Insights West for Vancouver Not Vegas, a coalition opposed to any expansion of gambling in the city.
Conducted between November 28 and December 2, the online study involving 437 Vancouver residents found that 36 percent of respondents support granting Paragon Holdings a permit to relocate the Edgewater Casino from the Plaza of Nations and double its gambling floor area. However, 34 percent would like to see the decision postponed, and 23 percent would prefer that the application be rejected. Seven percent were not sure.
On Monday (December 16), the city's development-permit board is set to consider Paragon's application to build a mixed-use development at 39 Smithe Street. The resort would include two hotel towers (15 and 25 storeys tall), commercial space, a casino with up to 600 slot machines and 75 gambling tables, and five levels of underground parking.
Vancouver Not Vegas announced today (December 10) that over 30 prominent Vancouver and B.C. residents are endorsing its bid to have city council review the casino application. The group's supporters include former Vancouver Coastal Health chief medical officer John Blatherwick, retired Conservative senator Pat Carney, former SFU president Michael Stevenson, former B.C. Supreme Court justice Ian Pitfield, and Green councillor Adriane Carr.
In 2011, council approved the rezoning of the land for the development, but rejected a proposal to increase the number of slot machines and gambling tables.
Insights West also asked residents about a report issued in October by the provincial health officer, which linked the expansion of gambling in B.C. to a rise in problem gambling. In light of the report, 54 percent of respondents think planned casino developments should be postponed in favour of further research on their beneﬁts and drawbacks. Thirty-six percent say these developments should not be postponed, and nine percent were unsure of their opinion.
As well, the poll found that 55 percent of residents believe that the proposed casino near B.C. Place will lead to more gambling problems, such as addiction. Seventy-nine percent would support the implementation of a government prevention and harm reduction strategy on gambling addiction.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.