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Live blogging the casino public hearing at City Council, Day 3

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9:50 - Arishta Bahn, an Edgewater employee, talks about how she started working at Edgewater, begins to cry about family problems and having to take on the responsibility of taking care of a young niece. She says she speaks on behalf of all single moms at Edgewater, noting that she and others are here "begging" for their jobs. 

9:47 -- Peggy Wong speaks out against the casino expansion, referencing a study by the US-based National Council on Problem Gambling, saying 20 percent of gambling addicts commit or attempt suicide, saying 60 percent are alcoholics, and that 50 percent will abuse their children or spouse. 

9:43 -- Woodsworth expresses disappointment that Hallows did not sing his song, then asks what was the point he dropped from his speech. Hallows says he spoke to an Edgewater employee, and says that the employee was told by bosses that if the relocation does not go through, they will lose their job (this was a point often repeated by casino workers before the hearing). 

9:37 -- Jim Hallows, a retired engineer from Sudbury Ont., says he asked his friends and associates about the casino, and was surprised that most people had not heard about it. He says it was an "untruth" that casino proponents said last week there is a casino in downtown Montreal, saying that the casino in Montreal is on an island, not accessible to the general public. He says the business community will lose money if the casino expands, and that many studies in the US show that businesses will lose money. He compares guns to casinos and says that while they don't kill people in and of themselves, but that millions of people die because of them. 

Hallows says he wrote a song for this casinos issue, and does not sing it, but recites the lyrics, talking about the men and women who built Vancouver, to have a "legacy without shame" by refusing the expanded casino. 

9:35 -- Jones questions whether Edgewater employees are being paid into coming to speak at City Hall. 

9:30 -- Joseph Jones says "prudence" (the term used by Dr. Carsley in advising that the city not expand gambling) is one of the pagan virtues, and that gambling is the opposite of that virtue. He says he is impressed that many of the arts organizations that supported casinos back then are now opposed to the expansion of Edgewater. 

9:25 -- Paterson says the casinos "extract" money from people needed for daily needs, and that business "depends on the vulnerability of troubled people". Woodsworth asks why seniors are so concerned, Paterson says seniors are unfortunately among the biggest victims of gambling, saying that many seniors think they will find company in casinos, and that they lose the money they need for living as a result of gambling. 

9:22 -- Sheila Paterson of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC says her association represents 80,000 members, many of them residing in the Lower Mainland. She says they unanimously oppose expansion of Edgewater casino, noting that a gigantic casino is not part of their vision of a vibrant city. 

 

9:18 -- Anton says she doesn't recall much discussion about what the development would be in the area of the mega-casino. Ladner says he's open to any kind of job-creating development but he's not open to a casino. 

9:14 -- Cadman asks Ladner that, as a journalist, how he explains that so many business organizations believe the expansion of the casino is such as good idea. Cadman says, "I challenge you as a journalist to dig a little deeper," and asks why the business community would support it. Ladner says, "Any time you say new investment, lights go on in the business community," says that most of them were misinformed on the issue.

9:11 - Meggs asks why Ladner objects to a private casino being paired with a public institution. Ladner says in 1994, it would have been unheard of to have gambling in the heart of the city, and that they would have never expected BCLC to embrace online gambling. He says now there will be a "casino culture" and that it will become part of the public life of the city whether people want it or not. 

9:10 -- Woodsworth asks Ladner if the studies by Paragon and Pavco are accurate in terms of returns expected from casino expansion. Ladner says he doesn't know, but that the numbers are probably inflated, and that City will find that as in the past, numbers will not live up to projections. 

8:58 -- Reimer and Ladner have a debate about whether City Council was aware that the words "expanded casino" were "slid" in Appendix A in the False Creek North Official Development Plan back in October 2008.  

8:55 -- Ladner says the new casino is not about bringing new gamblers from out of town but about "recycling" dollars currently used in casinos in Vancouver. He says the approval of the casino will lead to "easy campaign money" but that artists and community organizations will meanwhile suffer.

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