Casino construction underway, Council approves form of development

Casino construction

The new Edgewater Casino complex beside BC Place cleared a major hurdle recently. City Council approved the form of development on January 20, 2015. Construction is now well underway.

This has been a controversial project, with much public and media attention and political messaging. It is worth following progress over time to see how things work out. Do officials leave loopholes in decisions to allow wiggle room when the attention has faded?

One open question that remains in this specific case is the size of the future Casino. The new building that was approved will be much larger than the old Casino, and will actually have plenty of space for additional slot machines and tables. But in response to a high level of public concern, City Council put the following restriction on the CD-1 bylaw it approved for the Casino on November 29, 2011:

Conditions of use
4. 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.

This building will likely be completed in mid or late 2016. Any changes to the current zoning bylaw can only be made by City Council at a Public Hearing (a change cannot be made in-camera). Will Casino management make a renewed push to increase the number of slot machines and gambling tables before the complex opens? Has someone already cooked up a workaround already to expand the Casino operation? Or will the current size of the Casino remain? Stay tuned.

(On matters like these, the public could be more confident in City Hall if a lobbyist registry and whistleblower system existed. They are not rocket science. Good models already exist. The only thing standing in the way is the lack of interest by our elected officials. We urge citizens to call for these systems to be introduced. At the moment the public has no idea who is getting access to our elected officials and civil servants.)

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