City council and mayor should vote against mega-casino project
Vancouver doesn't need a mega-casino downtown. It's the wrong project for the city centre. City planners should focus instead on developing projects that make the city a better place to live, work and play. That's even more true when the developer is the provincial government working through the BC Pavilion Corporation to promote interests that seem grossly at odds with Vancouver's tone and culture, both of which are unique to the city and well worth protecting and building upon.
Vancouver visitors and residents already have plenty of access to gambling, online and via the Canada Line which provides immediate access to the Richmond River Rock Casino. The current location for Edgewater Casino often has empty slot machines and space in the high roller rooms, as Vancouver Observer reporters learned by observing inside Edgewater casino during different times of the day and night.
Polling inside the Vancouver city limits shows that more than fifty percent of the city opposes the project. No issue during the Vision-dominated city council's term has engaged more public debate or outcry and going against public opinion and forging ahead with the casino project would be perilous politically for council and the mayor.
There was a sped up process around both the call for proposals and the review of proposals for the development of the property next to BC Place. Had the process been handled properly and with more public engagement, it is doubtful that the casino expansion would have gotten through to begin with. This was handled very poorly by then-premier Gorden Campbell and the Liberal-led provincial government. That the proposal has gotten this far is not the fault of the mayor or the sitting council. However, the mayor and council should now exercise their authority to put Vancouver on a better path and demand the province seek new development proposals for the site with the best possibilities for the city in mind.