Full text of our statement today in response to Paragon Gaming’s announcement of renewed plans to build a massive casino “resort” in downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver Not Vegas responds to Paragon Gaming announcement
September 24, 2013
In 2011 Vancouverites united and spoke with one voice that we don’t want a mega-casino in our city. This is not who we are, nor the values we want to project about our city. We do not choose to offload the cost of government onto the weak and the vulnerable. And we’re not alone. Cities across Canada are telling governments they’ve had it with the relentless attempt to force gambling into our communities.
Yet despite a resounding 11-0 vote in Vancouver City Council that rejected the proposal, here we are again.
Yet again there has been no transparency, no disclosure, no public consultation of a massive casino project. Yet again a glamourous shiny announcement of a half-billion dollar project is foisted on the public with few details.
The most important feature of the Paragon announcement is the information still being withheld from the public.
- No disclosure of the planned casino floor space. Vancouver City Council, with no public debate on this key point, approved a rezoning of over 2.5 acres of casino floor space for this site—that’s over 2 NFL football fields.
- No disclosure of the very significant public subsidies going into the construction and maintenance of the development. Does the BC Lottery Corporation facility development contribution remain at $16.9 million annually, as outlined in the Deloitte Report issued in 2010?
- No disclosure of the public subsidy in the form of the 50% lease discount negotiated with PavCo. These lands were supposed to help pay for the stadium roof. Now the lease won’t even pay the interest on the debt.
This is a terrible deal for both the City of Vancouver and the Province of BC. If Edgewater cannot expand its slot machines and gaming tables, it’s a business certainty that revenues to the province and the city will fall, because Edgewater’s expenses are about to rise precipitously. There are no independent pro formas detailing projected earnings. It’s vital to remember that the Edgewater Casino has never met the original revenue promises it made to the city upon which its original license was granted.
End to end, this is a money losing proposition that will only add to the millions of dollars the public loses annually in the operation of BC Place.
Vancouver Not Vegas has filed a petition in BC Supreme Court contesting the relocation.
Statement by Sandy Garossino on behalf of VNV
Text queries to 778-231-5230
Video via here.