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.