We've been asked repeatedly if we would withdraw our opposition to the Edgewater expansion if the original agreement for one-third of Gaming revenues to charities and non-profits were honoured.
The short answer is "no".
Let us be clear:
1. We do not oppose the re-zoning question before Council and we do not oppose the relocation of the existing Edgewater Casino. We support maintaining the existing jobs at the Casino and welcome the new construction, hotel, restaurant and other jobs that may be created through this or other projects.
2. We do oppose any expansion of the Edgewater Casino until the community is heard. There are serious social, economic, and liveability implications to building the largest Casino in Western Canada in the heart of our City. We support the right of citizens and the City to make this decision – not the province or the operator, or the developers.
We are strong supporters of democracy and its processes; we believe that burying the request for massive expansion within a rezoning application has not allowed for a proper public debate. At the very least we expect Council to hold back on the request for expansion in the interest of democracy and in the interest of the public. Municipalities have the right to refuse expansion of Gaming in their jurisdictions and we urge Council to exercise that right.
3. We do oppose any expansion of the Edgewater Casino until the provincial agreement with the BC Association of Charitable Gaming regarding revenues is honoured or renegotiated. Gaming is not going away, and if it is to continue, charities and non-profits must receive their rightful share. Loss of Gaming grants in the arts alone is estimated at $4 million annually in Metro Vancouver. This means lost jobs and programs and affects thousands of citizens.
The Alliance joins others in our community in asking that City Council refuse to allow the massive expansion of Gaming by not supporting the proposal to expand the Edgewater Casino in downtown Vancouver. There has not been the necessary public discussion and economic analysis of the specific proposal, nor the overall aggressive expansion of Gaming in the province.
The public has lost confidence and needs to be heard.
Amir Ali Alibhai
Alliance for Arts and Culture