Could Saanich host a casino in the future? Council could ask staff to update the issue as early as next month. (Black Press File).

Councillor wants to see if casino is in the cards for Saanich

Coun. Susan Brice wants staff to look into issue

A Saanich councillor wants to see if the dice are still hot for a casino in Saanich.

Coun. Susan Brice plans to file a notice of motion that asks staff to update the issue.

Saanich was among two communities that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) had short-listed for a new South Island casino in 2016. In July 2017, the BCLC announced Victoria ahead of Saanich as the preferred municipality to host a second gaming facility in the region, an announcement Mayor Lisa Helps called “good news” for the city at the time. Victoria has since announced that it is not longer interested in hosting a casino.

RELATED: Saanich ready to roll the dice on casino

RELATED: Victoria no longer interested in hosting a downtown casino

READ MORE: Money laundering in B.C. casinos was a ‘collective’ system failure

Helps pointed among other reasons to a March 2018 report by lawyer and RCMP veteran Peter German, which states that casinos in the Lower Mainland had “unwittingly served as laundromats for the proceeds of organized crime.”

Helps said these findings had changed the “landscape with regard to Victoria’s willingness” to host a casino.

“Since 2015, there have been substantial issues uncovered with regard to money laundering in B.C. casinos as well as potential links to the trafficking of fentanyl,” she said in a report. “The B.C. government is taking this issue seriously and is taking significant action to remedy this situation. Nonetheless prosecution of these offences is difficult.”

Conscious of this background, Saanich officials have stressed that discussions around a casino are exploratory — nothing more.

Mayor Fred Haynes said he strongly supports the opportunity for this current council to have a conversation about potentially hosting a casino that would be part of a larger entertainment complex

“It’s not to be interpreted as an outright strong support for a casino,” said Haynes.

Hosting a casino could be a financial bonus for Saanich. Local governments that host a casino or gaming facility receive a 10 per cent share of the province’s net gaming income generated by the facility.

Haynes said this council was not just elected to deal with housing and the environment, but also generate economic development as part of a larger agenda to reduce Saanich’s reliance on residential property owner for tax revenues.

According to a staff report, 76.21 per cent of property taxes come from residential properties, with 23.15 per cent coming from businesses. Utilities (0.35 per cent), light industry (0.17 per cent) and recreation (0.12 per cent) make up the rest.

Council would debate Brice’s notice of motion at its next meeting.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read