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

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8:50 -- Peter Ladner says he's not here for NPA or for Vancouver Not Vegas, says he's here because he does not want a culture change as a result of the megacasino. He says he wants the stadium to be "more than an adjunct to the casino". Says he considers David Podmore a friend, and says there have been a few small public meetings, but no real public consultation. He asks, "Who led the developer on for four years, assuming this was a done deal?" 

8:48 -- Garrosino says many organizations supported casinos out of "great fear" of cuts to funding in the past. 

8:45 -- Anton asks Garrosino to elaborate about how gambling was approved in Canada to support organizations (including arts, nonprofit). Garrossino says gambling was legalized in 1969 specifically to provide a stable source of income for organizations that could not be paid for out of the public purse. She says it has "always been a very uncomfortable situation for all nonprofits" because many organizations cannot live without this funding. 

8:40 -- Woodsworth asks about cutbacks in gambling funds for arts and nonprofit sector. Garrossino talks about Kelowna women's centre closing its doors due to gaming cuts. She says 1500 non-profit agencies since gaming cuts announced in August 2009 are at risk of closing doors. 

8:37 -- Meggs clarifies that she's opposed to expansion, not taking a "prohibitionist" stance. 

8:27 -- Sandy Garrosino talks about her support for current Edgewater employees, talks how there has not been a full commitment about dealing with the problems of problem gambling. Says BCLC's Michael Graydon did not tell Council, but says a large amount of the revenue from casinos comes from problem gamblers. Talks about murder of Lily Li, Betty Yan, both loan sharks. Talks about a recent double suicide by a couple in Richmond linked to gambling at River Rock, says they were broke and cleaned out by gambling to the point that they took their own lives. 

8:21 -- "Homeless Dave", wearing a heavy backpack, talks about impact of gambling, cites university studies and Newsweek about Las Vegas as a model for boom-bust economy and the problem of unemployment in that city. References Charlie Sheen's "winning, duh!" slogan when talking about the appeal of casinos, and talks about Diana Bennett's father being a protégé of notorious mob boss, Benny Binion. Asks the Mayor to help the DTES and alleviate homelessness rather than expand gambling. 

8:18 -- Edgewater employee Tek Lee talks about how his job allowed him to buy his own home, and how it would be "disaster" if Edgewater is not allowed to expand, saying 736 employees would be jobless in 2013 if the current casino closes because expansion is not approved. 

8:16 -- Loy Tran, an Edgewater employee, asks City to let Edgewater grow. She says she doesn't want pity as a single mom with cancer, but says that she struggled on assistance and cannot imagine life without Edgewater. She says she started off working 12 hours a week and now works over 32 hours a week, along with once-a-week visits to the hospital. 

8:10 -- Denise Dufalt talks about personal acquaintences who have lost their home due to gambling. She says where there is gambling, "loan sharks, prostitution will be waiting". She says society in Vancouver has become unhealthy and uncaring, and says the city should work more on green architecture to attract people to the city. She says she resents the casino's treatment of its employees and its "bullying" of the Council.   

8:07 -- Ann Murnaghan talks about Frances Bula's column about growing movement of citizens opposing the casino. 

8:05 -- Woodsworth asks how Reynolds got here. Reynolds answers he got here partially by electric scooter, then joined the rest of his colleagues to come here via an Edgewater bus. 

Woodsworth asks if Edgewater has counselors for problem gamblers. Reynolds answers that there are many people onsite who can advise gamblers on viewing gambling as entertainment, and not as a source of revenue. 

8:00 -- Anton asks if it is possible for him, realistically, to identify problem gamblers. Reynolds answers that he can tell when people are becoming emotionally involved, and advises both in and outside of the casino to seek help, such as the self-exclusion list. 


7:55 -- As first speaker Bernie Magnan is not here, first speaker of the evening is Jeff Reynolds, an Edgewater employee and dealer. He talks about spending "full time" personal resources trying to find jobs downtown, says the only jobs he found after 7 months was part-time, low-pay jobs. He says he was hired by Edgewater full-time and at a high pay. 

He talks about advising problem gamblers to get professional help. 

7:50 -- Lemcke says he is more concerned about bars and nightclubs in the new building, rather than the casinos. Loud clapping breaks out from Edgewater employees. Anton asks if VPD has any problems with disorder in casino currently, Lemcke says no. Anton asks about "problem hotels" -- he says the focus on weekends is the entertainment district.


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