The Vancouver Not Vegas Coalition held a press conference about the updated Casino proposal on September 24, 2013. Spokesperson Sandy Garossino said that the coalition takes a strong position against the new project. Two years ago the city rejected a megacasino beside BC Place by an 11-0 vote due to strong public opposition.
Garossino noted that again there has been no transparency, no disclosure and no public consultation on the half-billion dollar project. She also said that key information about the floor space for the Casino has been withheld. A video of the full statement follows:
We’ll note that the updated Casino plans won’t be going to City Council again. In 2011 Council did allow for a relocation, but not an expansion of the Edgewater Casino. The spot zoning for the Casino was enacted at the lame-duck session of the last Council on Nov 29, 2011 (see meeting details here). A BC Supreme Court petition was filed soon afterward in an attempt to overturn the casino relocation.
What is the projected end-game behind the Casino relocation? We can only speculate. The new Casino & hotel complex could be approved either by the Development Permit Board or unilaterally by Planning Chief Brian Jackson (Eye On Norquay shows procedural steps: Skipping a Step – No Development Permit Board Review for 2220 Kingsway). If Brian Jackson were to approve the project, members of the public would not be allowed to speak on the proposal; the review would be done behind closed doors. After an approval for the form of development is issued, the construction of the new complex can proceed. Just prior to the planned opening of the Casino complex in 2016, City Council could theoretically change a single line in the spot zoning for the Casino site to allow for additional slot machines and gambling tables. A CD-1 text amendment would have to be done at a Public Hearing; fortunately the Vancouver Charter does not allow for bylaw changes to be made in-camera. A condition of use in the current by-law reads: “For a Casino – Class 2 use, the number of slot machines must not exceed 600 and the number of gaming tables must not exceed 75.“