Either Vision mayor Gregor Robertson or COPE's Tim Louis isn't being truthful about casino move
Often, people develop different interpretations from the same set of facts.
George W. Bush thought Iran, Iraq, and North Korea had formed some sort of axis of evil, even though the leaders of Iran and Iraq loathed one another at the time. The two countries had even fought an eight-year war.
Most of the rest of us thought that Bush was probably high on something when he included this in one of his State of the Union speeches.
Similarly, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair differ on whether marijuana should be legalized, based on the same set of facts.
And here in Vancouver, COPE's internal chair Tim Louis and Vision Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson have issued diametrically opposed statements regarding the proposed development of a new Edgewater Casino.
Today, the Vancouver development board is dealing with an application from Paragon Holdings to develop 15-storey and 25-storey hotels over five levels of underground parking beside B.C. Place Stadium.
Paragon also wants to move the Edgewater Casino into the new development.
The proposed floorspace is 71,249 square feet for the casino, which is well below the 114,097 square feet permitted under the bylaw.
The existing Edgewater Casino has more than 30,000 square feet with 520 slot machines and more than 56 gaming tables, according to the Paragon Gaming website.
The new proposal is for 592 slot machines and 76 gaming tables. That's eight fewer slot machines than the limit.
In a statement issued earlier this month, Mayor Gregor Robertson insisted that "there will not be any expansion of gambling in the City of Vancouver while I am Mayor".
"As part of the Edgewater Casino project, we wrote into our bylaws a cap on the number of slots and tables that could be allowed at the new site," Robertson added. "This prevents any form of gambling expansion at this site in the future, and any attempt to do so would require a rezoning—which I will never support."
Today, COPE issued its own statement alleging that Robertson and Vision Vancouver had "misled the public" before the last election by leaving voters with the impression that they had halted a "mega-casino" beside B.C. Place Stadium.
“The mayor and Vision’s trick was to delay approving a greater number of slot machines and gambling tables to fill the new larger mega-casino until the building has been constructed," Louis claimed. "My guess is they’ll have a little ‘consultation’ and then approve the new machines and tables after the mega-casino is built and sitting there half-empty. This is cynical politics at its worst.”
It's the same set of facts, but Robertson and Louis have offered up completely different interpretations.
Of course, if Robertson decides to seek a Liberal nomination before the 2015 election and becomes an MP, he will have kept his promise if there's no increase in slot machines before then.
Meanwhile, Louis has a long memory when it comes to slot machines.
The introduction of the one-armed bandits at the Plaza of Nations and the expansion of gambling in Hastings Park in 2004 drove a deep wedge within COPE. That led to the creation of Vision Vancouver the following year.
That spelled the end of Louis's career as a COPE civic politician following two terms on park board and two terms on council.
Today, the Vancouver Not Vegas group called on its supporters to show up at City Hall to urge the development permit board to refer Paragon's application back to council.
Expect the discussions to last into the evening—and quite likely well into the 2014 civic election campaign.