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Casino opponents fight hard but uphill to galvanize action

February 15th, 2011 · 47 Comments

Vancouver has seen massive protests in the past over expanded gaming. This time, the opposition has been strangely slow to muster. I looked at why, in brief.

One thing I noted, but didn’t have spaceto go into, is the lack of political leadership.

Every party has a mixed record on this. Although the NPA led the charge against the Steve Wynn casino in the mid-1990s, the NPA’s two councillors voted differently on increasing the slots at Hastings Racetrack in 2004. Peter Ladner was against, while Sam Sullivan, in what was viewed as a mysterious about–face, supported them.

Opposing the Paragon Gaming proposal for the new casino is tricky for the NPA now, as well, because it was the NPA council that agreed to the province’s aggressive push to get the city to allow more density around BC Place in order to find a way to pay for the stadium’s renovations. At the time, people thought that would mean lots of condos.

If Concord Pacific — the only other bidder on the land besides Paragon Gaming — had been successful, that’s what might have happened. But, to no one’s suprise, they weren’t the successful bidder.

As for Vision — well, several of the Vision (then COPE) councillors also supported increased slots at both the racetrack and a casino at Edgewater under the then-leadership of Larry Campbell, who went on to become a director in his post-council life at the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. It was the most unpopular decision the COPE council made. But many union members were supportive of slots and casinos, as a way of preserving jobs.

And, according to the record, as the Georgia Straight noted, COPE Councillor David Cadman was also on the pro side of Edgewater casino vote in 2004. Ellen Woodsworth was absent, but she was getting a lot of pressure from women’s groups who received casino money to support it.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • IanS

    IMO, you hit the two main points in your article.

    Firstly, we’ve had casinos now for a while and people are used to the idea. The Edgewater casino has been operating for some time without leading to any conspicuous problems. That being the case, it’s hard to get too worked up about a new, bigger casino across the street.

    Secondly, I think there’s a perception that it’s a done deal.

  • boohoo

    Agreed Ian, the perception that it’s a done deal is very real (and I agree with it…)

    I’m not too concerned with the casino itself, if people want to voluntarily pay more tax, so be it. It’s gawdawfully ugly, but that’s a different issue.

    What REALLY bugs me is the City lettting them get away with not paying their fair share re: amenity contributions. That’s bullshit.

  • I’m somewhat sympathetic to the opposition on this one – I find myself agreeing with Peter Ladner when I’ve heard him debating this with proponents of the casino (it doesn’t help the casino’s case that Charles Gaultier has been wheeled out to do this job. :-))

    It’s not that I have a religious objection to gambling but I have a hard time seeing this as a “highest and best use” of what is one of the last large open parcels of land in the downtown core.

    I know many have a great dislike of condo development too, but given the choice between that and a casino I know which I’d choose.

  • @Mark Allerton hit the nail on the head for me with his “highest and best use” comment. Does Vancouver now have enough of everything that positively feeds the soul of the community so that the choice comes down to condos or casinos? Is there a shortage of creative, useful ideas for the space? Or are condo and casino developers the only folks who can afford the land?

    I vote for a mini forest. Let me know where I can send my hundred bucks. 🙂

  • mezzanine

    @ mark,

    What would you have liked to see in the site, if not casinos > condos?

    ……..

    I found this interesting, Singapore recently built 2 large casinos to encourage tourism and gambling revenue . They also discourage native singaporians from entering with locals-only admission fees.

    “Gillian Koh, a researcher at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, said the resorts were part of a larger strategy to change Singapore from “a trading post or manufacturing hub” to a “services hub” with its attendant amenities.

    “There were lots of arguments against it,” Ms. Koh said of casino gambling. “The government was against it; now we’re O.K. with it, because we know how to live with these things. It’s a signal of being innovative socially as well as in the industry sense of it.”
    …..

    To discourage residents from gambling, the government collects casino entrance fees — $70 for a 24-hour period or $1,400 for a full year — from all Singaporeans and permanent residents. Almost 30,000 people, mostly recipients of public assistance or those who have filed for bankruptcy, are automatically barred from entering. While hoping to draw free-spending Chinese, Indonesians and other foreigners to the establishments, the government has imposed strict reporting regulations that make it difficult for the casinos to draw high rollers, who typically make up a disproportionate share of casino revenues. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/world/asia/07singapore.html?_r=1&em

  • @mezz – you may have misunderstood my last sentence, I would prefer condos to a casino.

    You know, how about a neighbourhood with a diversity of uses, rather than a big barn whose sole purpose is sucking the cash out of the hands of the unfortunate.

  • IanS

    @Mark Allerton #6,

    I don’t disagree, but I’m curious as to what other uses you would like to see for the space. I get that you’d prefer to condos to casinos, but you don’t seem to much like condos either.

    What other use would you suggest?

  • Tiktaalik

    It’s pretty crazy that the government revenue from BCLotto exceeds that of the forestry and oil n’ gas sector.

  • spartikus

    It’s a fun game we all can play!

    My vote after 30 seconds of thought: Concert Hall smaller than GM Place but larger than the Orpheum.

  • @IanS

    What part of “a diversity of uses” and “a neighbourhood” are hard to understand?

    Homes (i.e condos), shops, bars, restaurants, offices, leisure space. i.e the things that are typically found in cities.

  • mezzanine

    @Mark,

    I realize that you are ok with condo development, but you allude to a general “great dislike of condo development “.

    It also seems that you can accept that condo development along with neighbourhood amenities is “highest and best use” of the land.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

  • IanS

    @Mark Allerton #10,

    Ah, ok.. I understand. You want to see a condo development, maybe with some office space and a street level storefront with shops and restaurants.

    Apologies for the question. I thought you might have something interesting or innovative in mind.

  • I’d agree it would be better than a Casino. As for “highest and best”, I think I’d want to know the specifics of the amenities – wouldn’t you?

    If the amenities included a school and a daycare – facilities this neighbourhood desperately needs, we might be getting somewhere.

  • boohoo

    How about park space? I have a feeling concord is going to weasel their way out of providing anything in NEFC. Public art? Nice big urban plaza with restaurants?

  • @IanS

    Well, I was toying with the idea of “the Gordon Campbell Political Experience”, a Frank Gehry designed 15 story high nausea-inducing roller coaster ride with a spectacular plunge at the end, but thought better of it.

  • IanS

    @Mark Allerton #15:

    I’d support that!

  • Concerned Vancouverite

    If there are those interested in joining this uphill battle for Vancouver (and against a two football field sized casino), the opposition has a website to visit and a list of what citizens can do.

    http://dontgamblevancouver.wordpress.com/

    Nothing worth doing is ever a downhill endeavor.

  • Morven

    Between a rock and a card place.

    Pity our poor Vancouver Council.

    The project has the blessing of the province who do not have to make the location decision. Yet the same Vancouver council has to make a decision in the best interests of Vancouver and not British Columbia. No wonder they are all over the map.

    Some policy options please
    -30-

  • Peter Ladner

    Just to clear up the voting record. I voted against the introduction of the first slots in Vancouver– at Edgewater. That’s in spite of an onslaught of arts support for the slots so they could increase their funding from the Main St. bingo hall by getting it moved to Edgewater. Edgewater got the slots, never moved the bingo hall, then went under. Sam abstained due to conflict of interest– an office nearby. Revenues were well below what was promised.

    I voted in favour of slots at Hastings Park (they were already in town; it will “save 600 jobs”). Now I hear Hastings is looking for a graceful way to shut down the track and move those jobs to Fraser Downs. This move will be hastened by competition from a mega-Edgewater casino in a slots market that’s already saturated.

    The entire NPA/Vision/COPE council voted in favour of increased density for an entertainment district around the stadium (thinking of a new VAG) but Vision/COPE didn’t support surrendering city development fees to pay for the roof. Only in the fine print of an approved appendix does the phrase “and major casino” appear as a possible accepted use.

    Those words are nowhere in the minutes. I don’t recall it ever being discussed in council– the meeting was in the middle of a fierce election campaign.

    The city’s deal-maker at the time, Deputy City Manager Brent McGregor, is now working for B.C. Pavco on the project.

    BTW, I understand Larry Beasley, who touted the casino as a bold new vision for the neighbourhood on CBC radio, is working for Aquilini on nearby projects.

    Approving this mega-casino could end up being the most unpopular move this council makes. Try to explain to grandpas taking their grand-daughters to soccer games why they have to jostle past drug dealers carrying hockey bags full of $20 bills on their way into the game.

  • Chris B

    Peter I am absolutely shocked that you think our country bumpkin casinos could be used to launder drug money. Such cynicism!

    I personally think a 30,000 seat Empire stadium looked good on the Lions and will suit the Whitecaps admirably. And in exchange, the good people of BC can keep most of their $500 million, Downtown Vancouver can be further revitalised with anything other than a casino.

  • Mo

    “The city’s deal-maker at the time, Deputy City Manager Brent McGregor, is now working for B.C. Pavco on the project.

    BTW, I understand Larry Beasley, who touted the casino as a bold new vision for the neighbourhood on CBC radio, is working for Aquilini on nearby projects.”

    [Edited: Vulgar and libellous]

    The cost.. only morals and ethics. peanuts.

  • Bill McCreery

    There was once a time in Vancouver when we had public discussions about a change in direction or focus in a given neighbourhood, before rather than after the decisions were effectively made. We then formulated a community plan and crafted zoning requirements and design guidelines which helped realize the plan. The end product has generally worked fairly well.

    More and more recently these decisions are made behind closed doors between City officials (we’re not sure by who, Councillors and/or planning staff). To be fair to the current Vision Council, the stadium roof decision was made by the Provincial Government without any public discussion.

    Wouldn’t it have been nice a few years or so back to be able have had a public discussion about what to do about the Stadium, the surrounding lands, the fit of this new enclave into Vancouver’s downtown, what kind of image would whatever development on these lands lend to not only the neighbourhood, but the City itself. No doubt the current proposal is the “highest use” (financial return), but is it the “best use”?

    I do not support the proposed casino expansion. There are other better uses for this land. Among other things there is enough critical mass of land to create an office precinct. This IMO would be a better fit wit the Stadium than ever more 400 and 550 s.f. condos. Offices are used during the day, the noisy parts of the stadium generally at night and weekends. You might even throw a hotel into the mix. This wouldn’t have paid for a $500M+ roof, but it could pay for something a bit less grand. On the other hand, does Vancouver need a $500M+ roof? Montreal’s doesn’t work and has been abandoned.

    Vancouver is not Las Vegas or Reno. We’re not stuck in the middle of a desert. Are we so desperate that we must sell our souls? Do we want Vancouver to be a city of make believe, glitz, false fronts and fakery like those two are?

    I don’t think so. That is not what Vancouver is. Our purpose and future lies elsewhere, somewhere real and purposeful.

  • Frances Bula

    @ Peter. Thanks for clarifying your vote on the two issues. Hard to follow sometimes. Re the NPA/Vision/COPE vote on increased density — I did note that the NPA council was not expecting a casino, just that they had had pressure put on them to help the province find a way to pay for the BC Place renos.

  • Deacon Blue

    Does Vancouver now have enough of everything that positively feeds the soul of the community so that the choice comes down to condos or casinos?

    Andrea Cordonier #4

    “Just to clear up the voting record. I voted against…I voted in favour of… ”

    Peter Ladner #19

    “There was once a time in Vancouver when we had public discussions … More and more recently these decisions are made behind closed doors…”

    Bill McCreery #22

    “@ Peter. Thanks for clarifying your vote on the two issues. Hard to follow sometimes. Re the NPA/Vision/COPE vote on increased density… to help the province find a way to pay for the BC Place [two roofs]”.

    Francis Bula #23

    Andrea Cordonier has us all over a barrel. How transparent is this posturing? Do we really need a 19 times out of 20 poll to tell us that we are bending to the winds? Accepting whatever chunk of cash is floated before us in whatever guise? Bending low, much too low to conquer?

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Day

    “As a future MAX jackpot winner, and also as a true believer in the new groundbreaking Casino RRSP Portfolio offered by B.C. Pavco, I am in favour of lowering the income tax for the Rich. Totally!”

    ‘Love and Gambling, Love and Gambling,
    Go together like a Slut and Ass-Bling,
    This, I tell you brother,
    You can’t have one without the other.’

    I totally support the Casino in its proposed location. I also am endorsing the new Whoring Community to be built nearby. A new daycare centre in the area, as an amenity would be great, highly recommended if I’m honest, little Tony and little Mimi must have a place to crash when mommy is doing lap dances aka ‘creative fund-raising’ in between the Crap tables, so she could put herself through college; it could also serve all sorts of S&M markets… so, ‘it’s a go’ to paraphrase a much loved speech impediment that Raymond Louie has when faced with tough decisions.

    We need this; Vancouver needs this. The Olympic Games are one year old and they are not getting any younger, John Furlong’s pal, The Olly Hard-on is on the blue pill; we need Vancouver to put itself on the map, again.

    Plus, I hate to see all these Hell’s Angels bikers riding in circles and with no real future in the Shark Loan business, and nothing to do but applying for the most anticipated Green jobs peddled by Robertson & comp. We should join the Al Gore band as the newest groupie on the green circuit. Think of the Casino as our Little Launderette, green in, green out. If this is what it takes for us to reduce our carbon (not Cadman) foot print, I’m ‘all in’, get it? I’m all in, pardner!

    My only concerned though, is for the nearby Costco. I urge their management to apply for a Liquor licence (only for members of course) , and also to think opening a ‘Guns and Ammo.’ Variety Dept. (for sport, eh!) so the interested parties would be more inclined and eager to buy locally instead of bringing their own booze and personal helpers from the outside. I am all for encouraging the local economy.

    One more thing… I would also, support the idea of naming the new condo buildings after the people involved in these blackjack ‘dealings’. Catchy names like ‘The Toderian’, ‘Penny’s’, ‘The McGregorian’, ‘Watzzup Gordo’ …but that’s me. How about you?

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • The Fourth Horseman

    A philosophical question or two, if I might.

    Is this the best we can do, in terms of jobs, in terms of sustainability, in terms of quality of life in this city?

    The ‘greenest’ city? Maybe for Paragon Gaming.

    Are we so cynical that we are going to just shrug and say, oh well, we don’t mind:
    *more crime
    *more gangs
    * more money laundering
    *more loan-sharking
    *more addictions
    *more human trafficking
    *more corruption

    What are we becoming here?

    Is this the best we can do?

    I think the insidiousness of gaming expansion in Vancouver and the rest of Metro over the years has been cleverly timed. No big, dramatic expansion (till now) so the locals don’t even know what’s hitting them.

    “Normalized” by slowly ramping up how much, where and when it is expanded (sort of like STIR condo towers ;-0.

    Show hunky hockey players dealing to rich adoring cougars at blackjack tables. Show cheesy ads of progressively younger looking people having so much fun!

    Until they figure out they have lost $.95 cents on every dollar they carry into the place.

    I also think that all the years of fevered action and marketing around the Olympics (STILL being milked today for every photo op politicians can wring out of it), provincial government shenanigans and leadership races have left the populace fatigued.

    However, this shouldn’t mean that Vancouverites should just shrug and tune out.

    On Thursday, February 17, Vancouver City Council will be looking at the rezoning application for the expanded casino.

    Let them know, via e-mail, or in person on Thursday night that you want them to set aside this application until the deal is scrutinized in consultation with the public.

    Since Paaragon is “teaming’ up with PavCO, and since Paragon is really in the risk management business, it means that there is only one sucker bet on the table.

    Tremble, taxpayers…

  • The Fourth Horseman

    PS

    The British Columbia Lottery Corporation, your regulator AND marketer (we used to call this “conflict of interest”) for all gaming in this province, is spinning the benefits of this new mega casino.

    To hear BCLA CEO Michael Graydon tell it, it’s gonna be GREAT!

    (Says he, who was on watch when BCLC was fined over $600,000 by FINTRAC
    for non-compliance in neglecting to file OVER 1,000 “suspicious transactions” reports: also know as money laundering)

    Think of the revenues!

    Think of all the additional revenues!

    Think of the subsidies (oops! “commissions”) we are already paying to private operators in this province,!

    Why, this mega casino thing is TOO BIG TO FAIL!!…To fail…to…fail…

    http://tinyurl.com/6895rzf

  • The Fourth Horseman

    “When governments raise money by acting as croupiers, the systems they manage are degenerate and are closer to their end than their beginning…. From the moment the government encourages the citizenry to finance the state by gambling – which means by idle dreaming — instead of through creativity, work and productivity, that state is in an unacknowledged crisis.”

    — John Ralston Saul, Doubter’s Companion

  • S Garossino

    It’s almost impossible to find anything right about this casino project.

    1. The BC Lottery Corporation capital subsidy program (Facility Development Commissions and Accelerated Facility Development Commissions) typically pay about 42% of casino construction costs, and I understand that this includes ancillary buildings such as parkades and hotels.

    Coincidentally, the BC Lottery Corporation capital expenditure budget over the next three years is $346 million. Yet it doesn’t own any casino operations.

    Perhaps an investigative reporter could ask the question of the BC Lottery Corporation what amount is budgeted for the Edgewater Casino and ancillary structures’ capital construction costs.

    Because while we are being told the casino will pay for the roof, it looks more like WE will be paying for both the roof AND the casino.

    It’s quite disappointing to see the business community jump for this project hook, line and sinker. Looks just like the sub-prime mortgages. Nothing can go wrong!!

    Vancouver has never been a strong casino market. Edgewater went bankrupt 16 months after it opened, and Hastings Park constantly struggles.

    If the existing Edgewater doesn’t perform, who is going to fill a casino the size of TWO football fields (check the square footage)? Tourists? In November? In January? Sports fans? We don’t have that many games.

    All of this looks very speculative and risky. As a businessperson, it has the hallmarks of a project financed by OPM. Other people’s money. Because I wouldn’t put my own money into this thing, and neither would you (or if you would, you are the sucker in the room). And I suspect there has not been a lot of capital invested by others here.

    That’s just my gut feel from years in business. Usually you can tell where the juice is in a deal, and I’m not seeing it.

    We need a much closer look.

  • Mary

    Thank you 4th Horseman for the JRS quote, good one.

    I have to point out for the urbanistas that accept Larry Beasley’s support for casinos at face value, that Larry grew up in Las Vegas. Think about that. Think about what it does to a child’s then adult’s sense of values and aesthetics. Larry is a bright, talented guy, but he, as we all are, has been profoundly influenced by the environment in which he spent his formative years.

  • Frances Bula

    @Mary. So does that mean none of us can get beyond where we grew up? This seems like a pretty limiting point of view. Would you care to say where you grew up and how that has profoundly crippled your ability to accept anything new? And FYI, I happen to know from profiles I did of Larry a few years ago that the cityscapes that he says he was the most influenced by were Southern cities like Savannah, where he spent his very early years, and other small towns nearby where his relatives lived — places that were characterized by classical revival architecture and almost European urban design.

  • Morry

    @Mary – Larry like many others amoung us are not that influenced by where they live.

    There our many other factors that come into play, the most obvious of which is renumeration?

  • Morven

    The public policy process in this case is seriously deficient.

    In my view, both the province and the city are neglecting their disclosures in the public interest as a casino/hotel complex is clearly a significant strategic element with more impact than a solitary laneway house.

    For one, the BC Lottery Corporation, as the supervisory regulator, should be far more forthcoming on the new controls over money laundering risks otherwise all we are harming is Vancouver’s reputation for little gain.

    Two, the city and the casino, should be far more forthcoming on what will be the community benefits and how the community benefits will be applied.

    I am astonished and a little saddened that such a major development is proceeding without the stakeholders (principally the public ) having any clear idea of the benefits, risks and costs. And, to be blunt, the elected representatives have a duty to ask those questions and not let this project proceed in a near vacuum.

    Who runs city hall – the citizens or the provincial government ?
    -30-

  • Dan Cooper

    I remember when the voters first passed a ballot measure in the US State where I grew up allowing legalized gambling run by the government. The proponents swore up and down that it would be strictly limited to scratch-off tickets. According to them, the very idea that it would expand beyond that was ludicrous. In fact, of course, as soon as the government got hooked on the heroin of gambling revenue, and the gambling industry (which paid for the vote) got its foot in the door and money flowing in for lobbying, there was yearly expansion of the scale and variety of gambling. Now it is absolutely everywhere, with mini-casinos (video poker and video slots) in every strip mall and on every corner. And of course, the latest push is for – guess what! – a formal, urban casino, which would inevitably be followed by more and larger ones.

    If we do not want our cities, society and government overrun and dominated by the gambling industry and its interests, then we need to stop this progression now and – frankly – roll it back.

  • Morry

    “And, to be blunt, the elected representatives have a duty to ask those questions and not let this project proceed in a near vacuum.

    Who runs city hall – the citizens or the provincial government ?”

    We have been lied to on the part of the Provincial Government , to wit Campbell, many times… what is so surprising about the process for the casino?
    Rewarding of buddies from what is heard through the grapevine. …yet again. HST, BCRail, Ripping up Labour Contracts etc etc.

    But indeed: Who runs What on Whose behalf!

  • All we are asking the city council to do is vote “No” on the expansion of slots and tables that would triple the original Edgewater license, itself a combination of two older licenses.

    No one is objecting to the rezoning application or development permit, just the proposed expansion of slot machines to 1500. Given all of the concerns raised, that should be a simple vote for any thinking councillor.

    It’s worth noting that one half of all American casinos are in bankruptcy or receivership owing tens of billions of dollars to local businesses, states, cities and workers. And the head of the Nevada Gaming Commission just announced last week that more bankruptcies are coming …

    It’s simply been proven by experience to be an unsustainable business model that will leave local businesses, governments and workers holding the bag for the bagmen lining up to line BCLC pockets.

    When they’ve sucked as much cash as possible out of the DTES and Chinatown and other local piggy banks, they’ll just move on to the next fake Indian tribe with promises of illusory jobs and benefits that are never delivered.

    One last point. Mark above mentioned “best use” and that salient point should be noted. All Vancouver zoning and tax policy is based on the potential “best use” of every parcel of land in the city.

    Any economic enterprise that funnels money directly into the pockets of government is the worst possible use of money, preventing the normal beneficent circulation of money through our local economy, creating real jobs and real local taxes and real local benefits.

    Sending money to Victoria is economically like micturating into the wind – some may land back in the vicinity of its origin, but not in any way that’s beneficial, and the rest just disappears.

    Kudos to Isabelle Minty, our voice of courage and conscience!

  • Frances Bula

    @ Morry. Can people just think things through for one tiny second, before they start tossing off allegations that this or that person has been bought off? Even if Larry is working for Aquilini — he was briefly at one point, not sure he is any more — how would a casino benefit the Aquilinis? Do you think their hockey business is not doing well? Do you think that they believe a casino will draw people in to watch hockey? Do you think it will make the condos they’re planning to build in that area easier to sell?

    Second, he was one of many planners who saw an entertainment zone around BC Place as being the most appropriate use, and planned accordingly, for the last 20 years, long before being in the private sector.

  • Frances is right – Aquilini and CMP have been extremely proactive in working collaboratively with community, and very responsive to community input on amenities that will benefit entire area for decades to come. Far more than other developments in area.

  • David

    ‎”Gambling expansion is a major civic issue that calls on government to actively engage with the public and generate a healthy vigorous debate. In the US referenda on casino proposals are common, as are open, competitive bidding processes. It is worth noting that Paragon Gaming, the owners of Edgewater Casino, recently lost a competitive bid to develop a casino in Missouri, in a 5-0 vote. Why were they not able to attract a single vote of support? Are they the best candidate for Vancouver?”

  • Ron

    Since the recession has subsided a bit, the River Rock Casino in Richmond has kick-started the construction of its second hotel tower (5 storeys atop the BridgePort Park & Ride parkade. See pics here:

    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=145106&page=3

    So how does the Paragon proposal compare (in terms of number of tables and slots) to the River Rock Casino (Richmond) or the Boulevard Casino (Coquitlam)?

    While the River Rock and the Boulevard have very popular live entertainment venues (the Red Robinson Show Theatre at the Boulevard recently hosted the Variety Club Show of Hearts) I don’t think the Paragon proposal has a “show theatre”.

  • Morven

    In today’s (Wednesday) Vancouver Courier, the president of Paragon Gaming (Scott Menke) introduced some levity into the discussion and is quoted as saying:

    “there’s crimes tied to nursing homes” and
    “we’re safer than shopping malls”

    Instead of casting aspersions at seniors or denigrating shoppers, he might try and instill some logic into the debate by specifying his company’s code of Corporate Social Responsibility.

    Few citizens feel threatened by senior citizens or are alarmed by shopping malls but they are alarmed at the specious arguments of Paragon.

    Some explanation please, Mr Menke.
    -30-

  • Morven

    And, by the way, Canada and British Columbia have international obligations to minimize money laundering risk.

    One of the risk areas for money laundering are casino operations and whatever Paragon does in this area, has to be consistent with Canada’s international obligations.

    I imagine, in contrast, there is not a lot of money laundering in seniors rest homes or in shopping centres.
    -30-

  • F.H.Leghorn

    @ Morven: Have you been to Oakridge lately? Think nobody is laundering cash through shops with $2000 handbags?

    By all means, obstruct the plans for the casino. If it’s a question of saving our souls, as Mr. Ladner claims, let’s ban gaming entirely. Show some backbone. Draw a line in the sand. Get those lottery tickets out of the convenience stores, close the bingo halls, kill the Lottery Corp website, black out all professional sport broadcasts, slap a heavy tax on packs of playing cards.

    Then the problem will be solved. There will be nowhere for people to gamble, so they will stop gambling. Brilliant.

  • The Fourth Horseman

    Morven @41

    Unless there’s a guy named “Snake” running a craps game behind Crofton Manor, I think Mr. Menke’s level of hubris is astonishing.

    I call that deflecting. And bad deflecting at that. Yes, please, piss off senior citizens.

    Anyhoo, you all won’t be surprised to learn that City Hall has CANCELLED the casino re-zoning hearing this Thursday and moved it to:
    MONDAY, February 21st @7:30pm.

    Something about all parties regrouping…

    Vancouverites are coming…

  • Frances Bula

    @Glissy. That wasn’t my list or ordering, it was VNV’s.

  • Frances Bula

    Thanks for the hot off the press news about the meeting being moved.

  • Norman

    Let’s not be naive. The casino project is going ahead no matter what the citizens of Vancouver want. I guess some of us just enjoy tilting at windmills.