Victoria moves forward with casino discussions

The City of Victoria is keeping its name in the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s hat to potentially bring a casino to downtown.

The City of Victoria is keeping its name in the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s (BCLC) hat to potentially bring a casino to the downtown core.

Last week, council voted 6-3 in favour of submitting a controversial second expression of interest to participate in phase two, along with the District of Saanich, in the corporation’s process to identify the next municipality suitable to host a gaming facility.

As part of the expression of interest, city staff identified Crystal Gardens and the adjacent Apex site as potential sites for a casino.

Currently, BCLC is considering one of two gaming facility options. The first is a community gaming centre, which would include a combination of bingo slot machines, traditional lottery products, a restaurant, lounge, tele-theatre and a community stage area for live entertainment.

The other option would be a casino facility with a full service gambling entertainment facility with slot machines and table games, a restaurant, lounge, conference centre, hotel, spa and a stage as well.

The facility would begin with 300 to 400 slot machines, with the ability to increase that number in the future. There would also be eight to 10 table games.

According to a staff report to council, the annual revenue potential for the facility is expected to be $30 million to $45 million, roughly $1.8 to $2.5 million of which would be revenue for the city to support “other city goals.”

In November, Victoria and Saanich submitted a response to the BCLC’s request for expressions of interest. Earlier this year, the BCLC identified Victoria and Saanich as local governments with “strong” potential to host a gaming facility and were invited to participate in phase two of the process.

Mayor Lisa Helps voted in favour of the motion.

“I’m very much in favour of us keeping our options open and staying in the running. I think it could be a real benefit to Victoria and downtown,” she said.

It was an issue that many on council did not want to move forward with.

Coun. Ben Isitt vowed to fight the proposal, adding the city already has a lack of parks space, which the Apex site could have been used for, and that a casino encourages and can lead to potential addictions issues.

“I don’t think it’s ethical to rely on that for a revenue stream,” he said.

However, other councillors argued they shouldn’t shut the door on discussions that are still in the very early stages.

“I am supportive of this, taking the next step. I see it as just that — a next step, to continue in the conversation with the province along with Saanich, to the degree in which we’re interested in the site,” said Coun. Marianne Alto, adding there still hasn’t been an opportunity for the community to provide input on the matter.

“It could be another tool in our tool box as far as looking at resource development and I don’t see a reason to shut that door at this time.”

Coun. Chris Coleman noted there were two casinos in the past — one in the downtown core, the other by Mayfair Mall — which were managed properly, provided employment, and had financial benefits to both the city and community organizations who shared in the revenue generated by the facility.

“This is a legitimate operation that has oversight. Not everyone will like that, I get that. This is just saying bring on the other locations, let’s take a look,” he said.

BCLC also has the opportunity to bring forward other options in the city for a potential casino. The letter does not commit the city to anything and it still has the opportunity to back out of the process entirely at any time.

 

 

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

Just Posted

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (RIck Stiebel/News Staff)
A 1900s writing box found in Greater Victoria contained ink, photos and a letter addressed to Clara McCaubry dated October 14, 1898. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Hervieux)
Mysterious 1900s writing box finds a home among Saanich Archives

Wooden chest owned by early Saanich resident Clara Isabelle McCaubry

(Black Press Media file photo)
Spooky online class cooks up funds for Greater Victoria Imagination Library

United Way Greater Victoria offers how-to for witch cookies, tasty coffin as fundraiser

Murray Rankin has announced he will seek the nomination for the Oak Bay Gordon Head riding in the 2021 provincial election (which could happen in the fall of 2020). The former Minister of Parliament for the Victoria riding from 2012 to 2019.
(MurrayRankin.com)
New Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin says he will use his federal connections

Rankin said being part of NDP majority government gives him a strong voice

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read