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One last chance for public input on casino near BC Place on Monday
Vancouverites will have one final chance to have a say in the proposed move of the Edgewater Casino to BC Place on Monday, December 16 at City Hall (Town Hall Meeting Room) at 3 p.m. at City Hall on 12th and Cambie Street.
On Monday, City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board will consider the application of Paragon Gaming for a permit to allow construction of their new resort to begin. Citizen group Vancouver Not Vegas is calling for the City to push back the decision, given that a review of an alarming new gambling report is still in the works.
What the new casino project entails
Paragon has submitted a development application to the City to build a 62,700 m2 (675,000 square feet) entertainment complex on the west side of BC Place. The plan is to build two luxury hotels, a conference centre, restaurants, retail space and a new location for the Edgewater Casino’s existing 600 slot machines and 75 gaming tables.
"There's a lot of enthusiasm and support for the project," said Tamara Hicks, director of corporate affairs and strategic communications at Paragon Gaming, said.
"It isn't an expanded casino. We're building a world class resort with two luxury hotels, many restaurants and a lot of meeting space. This development is a $500 million project, so there are economic benefits and jobs. It will be upwards of $180 million from operations per year," she said, noting that the facility would also create two thousand jobs.
The area has been zoned to allow gambling, but Paragon application does not include plans to increase gambling beyond what is already permitted.
Although the City is opposed to increased gambling, leading health officials have warned that the Paragon project, if approved, will be a 'game changer' and almost certainly aggravate problem gambling in Vancouver. The number of severe and problem gamblers more than doubled from 2001-2007, according to a recent report from BC’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall.
Citizen group Vancouver Not Vegas has called for a review of Paragon Gaming’s plan to re-open the Edgewater Casino in a giant entertainment complex beside BC Place, pending the report of Vancouver Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Patricia Daly, who has been asked by Council to review the findings and recommendations of Dr. Kendall's report.
Hicks, however, repeated that the increased floor space for the development was due to the "crammed" layout of the existing Edgewater casino, and that the number of slot machines would and tables would remain the same.
People can register to speak by calling 604-873-7469. Speakers are limited to 5 minutes.