Casino approval likely hinges on site BCLC selects: mayor

The decision to bring a casino to Victoria will likely come down to which site is chosen by the BCLC, says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

The decision to bring a casino to downtown Victoria will likely come down to which site is chosen by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Last week, the BCLC announced it selected the City of Victoria over Saanich as the preferred municipality to host a gaming facility for the region.

According to the corporation, the city was selected because it is geographically further away from the existing View Royal casino and it has a larger population base, the BCLC said in an email.

The BCLC still needs to select an operator, who will then be responsible for selecting a location, based on available square footage, access from major arterials and parking, which would go back to the corporation for final approval.

“(It’s) good news for Victoria . . . all options are open,” said Helps, adding she was surprised the corporation didn’t name a site for the proposed casino. “I’m curious to see what will happen. All things considered, it’s potentially very good news for Victoria and we’ll look forward to the next steps and hearing from the public about the location once one has been decided.”

Last month, the city submitted a controversial expression of interest to the corporation, in which city staff identified Crystal Gardens and the adjacent Apex site as potential sites for a casino that could generate roughly $1.8 to $2.5 million in revenue for the city.

There are currently no areas in the municipality which are zoned for a casino. Once a site has been identified, the city will conduct land-use committee meetings with community associations, public hearings to have the site rezoned and will then go to council.

City policy prohibits a standalone casino operation, stipulating that such a facility must be part of a mixed-use development, such as a casino in a hotel.

However, not everyone is happy with the selection.

Victoria councillor Jeremy Loveday has been against the process from the beginning, noting he doesn’t believe a casino in the downtown core is in the best interest of the community.

“I think we should be focusing on the types of economic development that will build community, instead of a casino that will bring social issues and, for some in our community, will cause harm,” said Loveday, adding he’s received a number of phone calls and emails from residents opposing the idea.     “They (casinos) don’t actually help the surrounding businesses. Unlike other entertainment complexes, they’re designed to keep people inside and spend all of their money there and then leave the area. They can actually have negative financial impacts on the surrounding businesses where they’re hosted.”

Helps said just like anything, the proposal for a casino in the downtown core will likely come down to the site and hopes council will look at the proposal with an open mind.

“There are some people who are morally opposed to casinos and that’s fine. There are some people who are morally opposed to bars and that’s fine. My perspective is that the city and city council aren’t here to regulate morality, we’re here to regulate land-use,” she said, adding she’s not sure the likelihood that a proposed casino would pass at council.

“Hopefully for all of us, it will depend on the actual proposal itself, how strong is the proposal at whatever site that comes forward. What does it feel like? What does it look like? What is the operating model? We should base our decisions on an actual proposal, not on what we may or may not think about gambling.”

The size and scope of the facility in Victoria will be based on proposed redevelopment plans for the View Royal Casino, which have been in the works for many years.

The city is still able to back out of the process at any time.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

A 45-metre tall call tower is proposed for Westhills Stadium. (Black Press Media file photo)
New cell tower proposed for Westhills Stadium in Langford

Tower will increase capacity in congested network: staff report

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read