Live blogging the casino public hearing at City Council, Day 2
10:20 -- Mayor Robertson says they will reconvene on Monday, March 14th at 6:30pm.
10:15 -- Woodsworth asks for more info about the 8% at risk of becoming problem gamblers. Carsley says, amongst gamblers, there are several questions that gage how one scores on a gambling index. He says as you go higher and higher in gambling index, number of people in the category decreases, but is not very specific. Woodsworth asks if they will see social costs in the report of problem gambling (and people at risk). Carsley says no, it's far beyond his expertise, but the problem is that whether the expansion of casinos is going to have an effect on problem gambling or not.
10:10 -- Stevenson says, "I'm disappointed" on presentation and objects to emails going to doctor from councillors, out of public eye. Says "The public needs to hear this," and back room cheers. Robertson says in any case, the questions to the doctor will be public as the doctor will be at the hearing on Monday to speak. Stevenson concedes, and says, "I'll let that go."
10:07 -- Reimer asks Carsley to come in on Monday to talk to City Council about the effects of gambling on public health. Mayor Robertson asks Dr. Carsley to come back. Debate about whether or not this needs a procedure, but in the meantime Carsley agrees to come on Monday.
10:00 -- Discussion between Anton and Carsley on the link between access to gambling and problem gambling. Carsley says (referencing a US study), with regard to legality of gambling, 20 years after legalizing gambling, there was a slight increase in problem gamblers across states.
9:55 -- John Carsley of Vancouer Coastal Health Authority, last speaker, talks in his official capacity as a speaker on public health, rather than as a False Creek resident, which he also is. He thanks Mario Lee on the non-peer reviewed studies, and says that the figures of problem gamblers are much too small to assess the impact on public at large. However, he mentions the "severe rupture" caused by this small population: suicide, family breakup, and says First Nations and the low-income people are most affected.
9:50 -- Stevenson asks again whether a relocation for the casino would be favorable if the expansion is rejected. Hardwick says there needs to be a proper consultation, specifies she would be against both.
Reimer asks if provincial government should consult residents? Hardwick says it would be a good time for that, laughter from back room. Reimer asks if she's against rezoning, expansion and relocation, and Hardwick says she prefers the lesser of evils, the worst being expansion. Says she feels this casino proposal is a "fait accompli," and that it has been "rammed through" without public consultation.
9:45 -- Colleen Hardwick asks if this casino "reflects the kind of Vancouver you want to live in"? Notes that Vancouver should be proud to have been consecutively named the best city on earth to live, and asks if this will continue with a megacasino in place. Woman's voice from back answers loudly, "No." She says there is need for more research and dialogue and the policing budget, asks if this increase will come from gambling, asks how this will impact problem gamblers and low-income households.
Says this is not a question of left and right, but of right and wrong.
9:40 -- Anton asks if he is opposed to relocation or to expansion (this question has been asked repeatedly this evening by councillors). Barbolet says he is opposed to the whole project.
Cadman references killings by the casino, talks about the killing of Lily Li in Richmond in 2006. Li was a loan shark at River Rock Casino.
9:35 -- Herb Barbolet notes that "gaming" is what children do, and that the "doublespeak" should stop by calling activities in casinos "gambling." He jokes parking lot for casino should be made into bike parking area, so that the casino can be the first green casino. Barbolet says he is sympathetic to casino employees, saying they "spoke admirably" and seem "highly employable". Asks the City "not to grasp at every less-than optimal option" for generating revenue.
He says he disagrees with Podmore, and says the people who benefit from these projects are not the ones who pay for it, meaning the taxpayer.
9:25 -- Cadman says BCLC was fined by FINTRAC for failure to monitor in 2010. Lee says they have an explanation, laughter erupts. Cadman mumbles, "I'm sure they have an explanation." Talks about the extreme risk of money-laundering, criminal activity and terrorists. Lee insists that this is an RCMP jurisdiction.
9:20 - Kerry Jang asks Mario Lee to define expansion. Lee says it is defined by 1) number of tables 2) number of slots 3) floor space. Jang asks who decides limits on a table game? BCLC? Paragon? Lee says BCLC conducts and manages maximum amounts for gambling. Adds that federal government has some influence also, through FINTRA. Jang asks, if a table's limit is expanded ($500 to $1000), whether it would "draw in the high-rollers."