Apr 2011 27

No to the Vancouver Casino Expansion

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Photo by Dave Gough Photo by Dave Gough

A development project of $500 million, Paragon Gaming expansion at BC Place, financed by David Podmore, has been unanimously rejected by City Council members. The proposed vast 1,500-slot machine casino complex was not seen as a valuable enough investment into the future of the city. Councillors said that it would not benefit either the image of the city or its economy. Vancouver is going to target different kinds of entrepreneurship and development in the coming years.

Since the BC Lottery Corporation failed both to address all sorts of negative effects such an expansion in the gambling industry might cause, and to consult the public regarding the plans, they have only themselves to blame for the disapproval of the councillors and the mayor.

Mayor Gregor Robertson even imposed a moratorium on all the gambling facilities in Vancouver until an extensive list of demands is met. “Enabling the largest casino in Western Canada in our downtown doesn’t fit with Vancouver’s global brand as the world’s most livable city, the Green Capital, and hotbed for innovation, from clean and digital technology to resource management,” Robertson explained.

Despite the fact that the City Council took such a strong stand against the expansion, the councillors are willing to allow Paragon and its partners to continue with a mixed commercial and hotel complex close to the stadium. Along with this project, they will grant a relocation of Paragon’s smaller Edgewater Casino to the site from the Plaza of Nations. The rejection of the casino investment plan doesn’t affect PavCo’s $563-million reconstruction works on the stadium, including its new roof.

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