This is the first anniversary of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Today Shane Koyczan joins our coalition against the Edgewater mega-casino and against gaming expansion in Vancouver and in BC in general. You probably remember Shane’s electric slam poetry performance at the 2011 Games ceremony – if you don’t, you can see it below. Thanks to Shane for lending his name to this fight. “We are More!”
Democracy consists, unfortunately, in citizens showing up to meetings. Sad fact, but true!
Please join us:
Chinese Cultural Centre in Chinatown (Stadium-Chinatown skytrain station)
7 pm, Wednesday February 9
(See the Facebook event page)
50 East Pender Street between Carrall and Columbia
(travel instructions to the site, click the link above)
Please come out. You will have fun, meet a mix of people, and feel good about helping us demonstrate our numbers. Bring your ideas and your concerns about the proposed Edgewater mega-casino.
If we approve this mega-casino in Vancouver—if this public land is effectively given away to a sketchy Vegas company on an endless 70 year lease—we will never be able to get rid of it. Is this the image we want for Vancouver, internationally? No other major Canadian city has put a casino in its downtown core, or even close to residential areas. Once we go down this path, we can’t turn around. They don’t just want to put this casino in our downtown, they want to make this the biggest casino in Western Canada, and to have it built by a company that has only ever built truck stop, highway-side, trailer park casinos. The City of Vancouver has not done studies that indicate what the true economic costs of a casino are, but they easily make up a sum in the millions. And for what, $17 million a year? That’s not enough of an inducement for Vancouver – that’s a pittance in the City budget. This is a bad idea. Come out and have your say.
Vancouver will only be forced to make the right decision if the citizens of Vancouver show up and get involved.
Posted in Edgewater Casino
Tagged BC Lottery Corp, BCLC, City of Vancouver, David Podmore, democracy, Edgewater, gambling, gaming expansion, mega-casino, Minister Coleman, Paragon Gaming, PavCo, public forum, public meeting, Rich Coleman
Gambling was expanded throughout BC with the understanding and agreement that it would substantially fund BC’s crucial charities and non-profits. This has not come to pass, and charities are suffering. Minister Rich Coleman cuts them off from gaming revenues at will—and, so far, with impunity. But perhaps not for much longer. Why should we have a huge, crime-attracting casino in our city’s downtown if it’s not even going to fund the charities that keep our communities healthy?
Remember to sign the BCACG’s petition asking the City of Vancouver not to consider the BC provincial government’s application to expand gaming in the municipality until the province comes to the table to discuss its radical cuts of gaming-derived funding to charities and non-profits throughout BC.
The BCACG or British Columbia Association of Charitable Gaming is a non-profit organization that represents the charities who receive funding out of BC’s gaming revenues. Charities currently receive only about 10% of those revenues; BC legislation states that fraction must be 33%. Read the BCACG’s open letter to Minister Rich Coleman. Please send the petition link around!
Photo: Dennis Tsang To learn more about the actual relationship between the stadium roof and the mega-casino, read this series of articles in the Vancouver Observer. Paragon, a Vegas casino company, was awarded the contract to build and operate the mega-casino in a very iffy bid process. It was awarded the contract by BC Pavilion Corp—a crown corporation known as PavCo which owns the land next between BC Place and the Cambie bridge. See here. Rumour has it that that Paragon told BC Liberal minister Kevin Krueger last year that without a retractable roof on the stadium, Paragon would refuse to build the mega-casino because supposedly without the draw of a retractable stadium roof, the stadium wouldn’t attract enough clientele to the casino. As for the mega-casino, this is a process that has been occurred very much under the radar of most Vancouverites who are unaware of what’s coming: a new development three times the size of the original Edgewater Casino currently located in an inconspicious spot on the other side of the stadium. City Hall has been strangely silent on the issue of this massive gambling expansion, considering that the BC government application to the city to expand gambling within our city limits will soon be before Council.
Stadium roof scandal?
Some are saying that the retractable roof, one of the most expensive in the world, will cost twice the public estimate, and apparently engineers are not even sure that the underlying structure will support the roof in all conditions. At the very least, the City must get a full independent seismic assessment before granting the rezoning. And that’s not the only thing that City Council should be demanding of the provincial government before it negotiates further with them. Before Vancouver considers the government’s applications to expand gaming in Vancouver and to rezone the new casino site for a mega-development, the City needs to get the provincial government’s assurance that it will actually meet its legal obligations to hand over 1/3 of gaming revenues to BC’s charities and non-profits. (If the BC govt had honoured their 1999 Memorandum of Agreement, a legal document, they would have paid BC’s crucial charities and non-profits $1.3 bn more than they did; that amount is now in arrears). Both the City and Minister Coleman need to start coming clean about these developments.
Posted in Edgewater Casino
Tagged BC Place, City Council, City of Vancouver, Edgewater Casino, Kevin Krueger, mega-casino, Minister Rich Coleman, retractable roof, rezoning, stadium, Vancouver Observer