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

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Most Read