Monthly Archives: November 2011

Recap from November, 2011 – Rezoning for large casino design passed by City Council

This is a recap of the situation as of November 29, 2011, at Vancouver City Council. We will be updating you on new developments on this situation soon:

Despite our legal challenge in BC Supreme Court, in its very first post-election meeting, one of the last meetings of the 2008-11 Council, Council has passed the rezoning application that includes a clause allowing Edgewater Casino to relocate to BC Place. The only councillor who voted against was Ellen Woodsworth. What does this mean? It means that Council did not demand of PavCo that it reduce the massive building size of its original mega-casino proposal, thus leaving the door wide open to future expansion. It’s a clear go-ahead signal to PavCo and Paragon.

Casino expansion is inevitable down the road in the approved massive floor plate, and what’s worse, it’s possible WITHOUT technical gaming expansion. The 600 slots from failing Hastings Park could likely be added to the existing 600 at Edgewater Casino, for a total of 1200 slots at BC Place Stadium. We’d end up with a mega-casino in downtown Vancouver, even without “gaming expansion.” This means Vancouver can go the route of Atlantic City (major casinos downtown, rare in N. America) even without Vision breaking its election promises. It was a mistake (or deliberate folly) for Council not to stipulate that the proponent must submit a new, smaller plan for the relocated casino.

We will see what the BC Supreme Court has to say on this topic. Our contention is that this permission to relocate without a new application is a contravention of BC Gaming law. There are also other legal options. There is also the Development Permit process, but that tends to a rubber stamp process involving City Manager Penny Ballem who was squarely behind this casino project, and the new Director of Planning whose title is now “Director of Development.”

We will need your help and loud voices to remind Vision that it was partly elected because Vancouver believed it was stopping this mega-casino. If its language during the election was deceptive, that will be a betrayal Vancouver will not forget.

For press stories on the Nov 29 passing of the original rezoning application, click here.



Above is the top U.S. expert on the gambling industry and impacts of gambling on communities, Professor Robert Goodman, who has been hired by both Democrat and Republican administrations.

During our fight against the mega-casino in Vancouver, we made frequent reference to Dr. Goodman and his studies on proximity of casinos to residential areas. It is lately being implied by Vancouver City Council that Vancouver Not Vegas only fought expansion, not relocation.

Firstly, the proponents (PavCo & Paragon Gaming) claimed they were only interested in this project if they were granted the right to nearly triple their operation. Therefore, we chose to oppose that plan. However, secondly, we and many of our supporters described at length the problems with putting gambling in proximity to residential areas, especially dense neighbourhoods. Throughout the hearings many Vancouverites cited studies and stats showing that proximity increases rates of problem gambling and crime etc. When it is now said that no one objected to relocation, we must remind Council to stick to the facts. A majority of Vancouverites don’t want gambling in our downtown or our neighbourhoods, and this is a widespread view. Most cities put gambling on the outskirts of town for a reason, if they allow it at all. Let it not be said we did not oppose the BC Place stadium location. That’s just simply untrue. 


NOVEMBER 24, 2011

They’re back. Ignoring our legal challenge at BC Supreme Court, City Hall appears to be going ahead with a relocation plan whose details are completely unknown to the public. From Council’s Agenda for November 29:

“Staff advise that BC Pavilion Corporation is now ready to proceed with enactment of the by-law for the project at 777 Pacific Boulevard, which allows for the relocation but not expansion of the Edgewater Casino on site. This enables Concord Pacific to proceed with enactment of the By-law for their application at 10 Terry Fox Way (Concord Area 5B East).

The following is therefore put forward for consideration by Council:

THAT the application to amend the False Creek North Official Development Plan, By-law No. 6650, generally as presented in Appendix B of the Policy Report dated January 10, 2011, entitled “Amendments to the False Creek North Official Development Plan”, be approved;

FURTHER THAT the Director of Legal Services be instructed to bring forward the amending by-law, generally in accordance with Appendix B.”

This is unacceptable. We demand City Hall wait until courts decide whether Council’s relocation clause contravenes BC Gaming Law.

Vancouver Not Vegas says new casino relocation plan should go to public hearing

Bulletin: vancouver not vegas says new casino plan should go to public hearing
November 28, 2011

Vancouver Not Vegas group calls on Vancouver City Council to delay approving the casino relocation bylaw pending a court ruling on the bylaw validity and full public disclosure of the relocated casino plans.

[See Council agenda for Tuesday November 29]

Sandy Garossino says “Paragon Gaming made it clear from the outset that the relocation and expansion applicationwas an all-or-nothing deal and there was no business case for a relocation alone. Under the Gaming Control Act, a relocation alone is effectively a new application which requires public consultation of the new plan”.

Lindsay Brown says “The public has been told we will have a mega-casino in the downtown residential core, but Council has effectively left the door wide open for the developer to build one by approving a relocation without requiring an amended plan to be submitted. We still have an approval in principle of 2 NFL football fields of casino floor, and tens of millions of dollars in public subsidy with no public disclosure and public hearing.”

“Council consistently treated this application as a re-zoning matter, and has not recognized the requirements of provincial legislation governing decisions around gaming licenses,” adds retired justice Ian Pitfield, a coalition supporter and retired BC Supreme Court judge. “The community was not provided with any particulars of the relocation proposal. It was only told about an expansion.”

Please see our previous press release regarding our legal petition to quash the relocation clause:

Vancouver Not Vegas! Co-founder Launches Petition to Halt Casino Move to BC Place

Media contacts:
Sandy Garossino 778-231-5230
Lindsay Brown 604-313-7744
Ian Pitfield 604-828-5494

Vancouver Not Vegas! Co-founder Launches Petition to Halt Casino Move to BC Place

Vancouver Not Vegas Co-Founder Lindsay Brown has filled a petition in BC Supreme Court seeking to overturn the decision by Vancouver City Council approving the relocation of Edgewater Casino to BC Place Stadium.

“To this day the people of Vancouver still have no idea of what is being planned for the casino development on the BC Place Stadium site, yet Council has essentially written Paragon and PavCo a blank cheque by approving the relocation,” says Vancouver Not Vegas co-founder Lindsay Brown.” Once again plans are being made behind closed doors at City Hall, apparently to be dropped on the public when it’s too late for us to have a voice, but this time Council has granted its approval in advance. The BC Place site is a Vancouver landmark affecting thousands of residents, and we don’t know what’s happening there. We need to be part of the discussion this time around – if there is a “this time around.” ”

“Council consistently treated this application as a re-zoning matter, and has not recognized the requirements of provincial legislation governing decisions around gaming licenses,” adds retired justice Ian Pitfield, a coalition supporter. “The community was not provided with any particulars of the relocation proposal. It was only told about an expansion.”

During the public hearings in the spring of 2011, Paragon Gaming, the owners of Edgewater Casino, strongly stated that relocation without an expansion of their license was not an acceptable solution, and offered no amended plan for the public or Council to review. Council voted to approve only the relocation of the Edgewater Casino against the applicant’s wishes and without public consultation respecting any revisions. The City has not complied with the Gaming Control Act and Regulations.


Note: Letters sent from Ian Pitfield to City Hall and to the Minister responsible for Gaming beginning in late May 2011 have remained unanswered or have elicited only uninformative replies.

Vancouver Not Vegas now awaits a response from City Council regarding our petition. We are very pleased by Vision Vancouver/COPE’s promise of a moratorium on gaming expansion in Vancouver, however the question of PavCo’s intentions for the BC Place Stadium site remains urgent.