News about Edgewater casino at BC Place
october 17, 2013: The Kendall Report
Perry Kendall, BC’s Chief Medical Officer, published a report on October 17, 2013 showing that gambling addiction has doubled in BC over the past 5 years. Gambling addiction is one of the most hidden and deadly of addictions, affecting whole families and communities and costing the BC health and other public systems. There has yet to a reaction from the BC government or the City of Vancouver to this report. This is a serious public health issue. Why has there been no gov’t reaction to this damning government report?
September: VNV PRESS CONFERENCE on SEPT 24, 2013 in response to renewed paragon proposal for massive casino at bc place
And please share on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you! Links to these are above.
JULY: Vancouver Not Vegas Submission to the Development Permit Board
July 15, 2013
Vancouver Not Vegas is a coalition of citizens and community groups advocating for a healthy urban environment, and concerned about the proliferation of casinos in Vancouver.
Paragon Gaming, the BC Lottery Corporation and PavCo have a history of failing to disclose material facts and circumstances to the public, including the status of signed agreements and the existence of independent revenue projections that conflict with inflated numbers provided to City officials and the public.
Our position respecting today’s application is to take no position, but to state on the record that
1. Vancouver Not Vegas objects to the lack of transparency and public disclosure surrounding future plans for the Edgewater Casino. Under the Gaming Control Act, the public is entitled to full notice of all material circumstances surrounding proposed casinos, yet the public knows nothing at all about what will transpire;
2. To comply with the Gaming Control legislation, it will be necessary for Paragon Gaming’s relocation to BC Place to return to City Council for public hearings. To date:
• No plans or drawings for the site have been publicly disclosed,
• No net revenue projections nor host city revenue impact has been disclosed or independently verified;
• There has been no disclosure of public subsidies in the form of lease forgiveness, construction subsidies or environmental remediation to be born by the BC taxpayer.
3. As gaming revenues in the new location will not substantially increase, but construction and operation costs will, it is probable that the proposed relocation of Edgewater Casino will result in decreased revenue to the City and provincial government, unless it is significantly altered.
4. It is reported that Paragon is in discussions with other gaming providers. What is the subject of those discussions—ie, is Paragon looking to sell its interest, or is it in discussions to expand its gaming capacity in some form of amalgamation or joint venture that materially alters the proposed development?
Before the City exercises its discretion in favour of the applicant’s request for an extension of its gambling permit, we ask for Paragon to publicly disclose the nature of its discussions with other gaming interests, and to commit to limiting its intended licenses to those already approved for the site, i.e. 500 slot machines and 65 gaming tables.
Link to this media release is here.
Please text queries to:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2013: Vancouver Not Vegas Issues Court Challenge to PavCo and Paragon BC Place Casino Plan
May 2, 2013, Vancouver: Vancouver Not Vegas announced today that it will proceed with the action it filed in November 2011 in the BC Supreme Court challenging City Council’s approval of relocation of the Edgewater Casino to BC Place.
The decision to proceed with the action results from PavCo’s announcement that it has signed an agreement to lease with Paragon Gaming Corporation allowing construction of a casino on the BC Place site. There has been no public disclosure or public hearing concerning the terms of the Edgewater Casino proposal contrary to the BC Gaming Control Act Regulation.
Sandy Garossino, co-founder of Vancouver Not Vegas, says “this project has all the earmarks of a financial fiasco. Incredibly, the public knows even less about the Edgewater Casino proposal today than it did in 2010. Once again PavCo has announced a done deal to the public, only this time without even the courtesy of telling us what we are committed to.”
PavCo was going to lease the land to Paragon for $6 million per year. In September 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that PavCo expects to reduce the rent to $3 million a year. The current proposal does not reflect the highest and best use of the site. Nor does it provide any indication of any return to the City.
Coalition spokesman, Ian Pitfield, says “no disclosure has ever been made to the public detailing what’s proposed now, nor has any community input been sought as required by the Gaming Act and the Regulation. Nobody knows what’s planned for the site, whether the City will lose money on it, how much public money will go into building it, or whether and how much the taxpayer will subsidize leases on public land.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the action.
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For background on the original petition, click here.
Ian Pitfield at 604-828-5494
It may have appeared that we defeated the mega-casino back in April 2011, but it’s not completely over. Vision Vancouver passed a rezoning in November 2011 allowing PavCo and Paragon to build a 2.6 acre casino for its existing 600+ slots. Why? We’re watching the BC Place and casino situations closely. Over summer and fall 2012 PavCo and BCLC held meetings (the subject of which remains undisclosed despite FOI requests), and in April 2013 the BC government announced a deal with Paragon for a smaller casino at BC Place, while the NDP have floated the idea of selling BC Place. What’s up? Stay tuned.
PLEASE READ OUR REPORT CONTAINING OUR ONGOING OBJECTIONS TO THE CASINO AT BC PLACE.
Our report includes arguments from the perspective of public health and addiction, urban planning, polling & public opinion, financial & economic development considerations, and more. It also contains our long list of endorsers.
Congratulations, Surrey BC!
Surrey’s citizens led by a group called No Casino in South Surrey worked hard to oppose a new resort casino, and on Jan. 18, Surrey City Council voted against a casino 5-4 with Mayor Diane Watts casting the deciding vote against.
The two largest cities in B.C, Vancouver and Surrey, have now said no to new and expanded casinos. Let’s hope this sends a message to other municipalities in BC and beyond. More on the Surrey story here.
Visit the Surrey group’s website, Twitter and Facebook.
Toronto citizens successfully fought a mega-casino proposed by OLG (equivalent to our BC Lottery Corp) and corruption-ridden MGM Casinos. The final decision was made at Toronto City Hall in June 2013. Congratulations to No Casino Toronto for their win after a lot of hard work.
Visit No Casino Toronto’s website, Twitter and Facebook page.
We won! Thanks to the thousands of Vancouverites who helped us defeat the mega-casino.
The final casino hearing & pavco’s last minute maneuvers
At the close, after all citizens had spoken, PavCo and David Podmore attempted an 11th-hour change of their proposal, asking for 1200 slots rather than 1500. (With option to expand later… to 1500. Within 2 years. Apparently this was a “compromise.”)
this is unacceptable.
Memo to PavCo, Paragon, and BCLC:
This is not a game. A good faith public consultation process lies at the heart of all gambling expansion applications in the province. It dishonours the people of British Columbia when Crown corporations try to game the public in such a cynical way. See our media release here.
Most Vancouverites don’t like gambling or gambling expansion.
A majority of Vancouverites strongly opposed the casino plan, just as they opposed a similar plan (also spearheaded by David Podmore) in 1996. Over two decades, the proportion of Vancouverites who oppose gambling expansion has never really changed. Even when pollsters ask leading questions in polls paid for by casino proponents, those who oppose expansion significantly outnumber those in favour. We defeated a mega-casino in the 90s, we defeated this casino in 2011, and it’s fair to predict that any future casino plans will be defeated too.
To read about the first 3 nights of casino hearings, click here.
Above: a “before” photo, without casino (and before stadium roof was removed). Below: proposed casino location and design.
In the drawing above, the white building at the right indicates the condo hi-rise you see in the photo below (with vertical yellow stripe).
Note: TO REACH THE Citizens’ GROUP FIGHTING THE JUMBO BILLBOARDS that have been installed around BC PLACE by pavco, CLICK HERE. (They’re a separate initiative.)
Above, Jumbotron advertising behind bronze Terry Fox
sculpture at Terry Fox Plaza. Below, video showing Min. Pat Bell claiming that PavCo has dealt with the problem and conferred with the City, neither of which is true.