Despite Strong Opposition at Public Hearing, Proposed Delta Casino Gets Approval

85
Despite Strong Opposition at Public Hearing, Proposed Delta Casino Gets Approval

The public hearing on Gateway’s proposed casino complex in Delta scheduled for Tuesday evening drew a surprisingly large audience, forcing officials to announce a second date for the hearing. Resuming Wednesday evening, the meeting was intended to show councilors what residents think of the project, which would bring in a CA$70 million investment to the area. Instead, the proposal met strong opposition and divided the community. City Council, however, gave it a preliminary approval with a 4-2 vote in favour of Gateway’s application.

Last year, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation gave a preliminary approval for a casino to open in Delta and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. was chosen as the future operator of the facility. Since then, several meetings, consultations, and information campaigns have been held, while last month, the City Council gave first and second reading to the proposed development. A public hearing was scheduled for May 1 at the Ladner Community Centre, but due to the huge crowd that gathered and the large number of speakers, a second hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, May 2.

A total of 47 people spoke during the four-hour meeting Tuesday evening and most of them expressed concern that the new casino would lead to a rise in gambling addictions, traffic problems, money laundering and crime. While the majority of the people at the meeting were strongly against the casino, proponents said that the gambling facility would be financially beneficial to the city as it would pay Delta a portion of its gaming revenue. Others pointed out Gateway’s proposal includes not only a casino, but also a hotel part and “family-friendly” restaurants, which would be great for the community.

The proposed gambling facility, which would be a Cascades-branded casino, as revealed recently by Gateway, would be located at the Delta Town and Country Inn site in Ladner. This would require the current hotel to be demolished this summer and construction work on the new development to start by the end of the year. The company expects that the casino complex would open by 2020. According to the plans, it would have approximately 500 slot machines and up to 24 gaming tables, while the adjacent hotel would come with up to 124 rooms. The property would also feature Gateway’s signature restaurant brands, MATCH Eatery and Public House, ATLAS Steak + Fish and The Buffet.

Gateway’s Casino Project Goes Ahead

The public hearing regarding Gateway’s application for a casino and entertainment complex at 6005 Highway 17A continued Wednesday evening. The gap between supporters and opponents of the casino grew wider after the hearing started with Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord who told the audience that the previously heard concerns about the money laundering and crime were unfounded. According to him, the casino would not attract or cause more crime than a shopping mall or a movie theatre. 5

After several hours and multiple speakers who shared their opinions on the proposed casino, the City Council approved the project with a 4-2 vote during the third reading. Counc. Robert Campbell, Counc. Bruce McDonald, Counc. Sylvia Bishop and Mayor Lois Jackson voted in favour of the new casino, while the only two votes against were given by Councillors Jeannie Kanakos and Heather King. Counc. Ian Paton did not take part after a resident commented about a potential conflict of interest. As the application passed third reading in Delta Council, it would be now referred to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. If approved, it would return to City Council for final consideration and adoption.