Letter: Is a new gaming centre still the best course?

By Contributor
February 7th, 2010

Dear Editor:

Is it perhaps time to take the Gaming Centre out of the backrooms of City Hall and re-examine it, in public, in the ‘light of day’ .. and given today’s realities?


“The expected progress on the Castlegar Gaming Centre has not come to fruition”.

” City council received a letter from the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) on (Dec. 7, 2009), stating that the they understand the city’s concerns with the fact that Terrim Properties has not been able to meet any of the timelines or commitments under the licencing agreement.” *


* Excerpt from a letter from the BCLC letter to the city.


When proposed, the gaming centre appeared to be a first step towards economic diversification.


I was one of the few who had an opportunity to actually vote on the City’s participation in this project.


At that time, I was willing to support the project 1) as a test case; 2) as at least one effort to stimulate some diversified economic development.


Since that time many things have changed.


We have all learned a lot about sustainable communities, and the social costs that the recession, the Interfor Mill shut-down, and the ‘Celgar tax debate’ have brought to the community.


The public also learned that Canada’s Economic ACTION PLAN (at least the initial Federal version) was not going to participate in the multi-million-dollar water and sewer lines proposed to cross under the Kinnaird Bridge, bringing city utilities to the gaming centre, Doukhobor Discovery Centre, art gallery, and the airport lands.


The city established a public consultation process around sustainability issues, in advance of public participation in advance of the much anticipated revisions to the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and received a strong message from the participants that downtown re-development should take precedent over commercial/urban sprawl at the airport. (Not to mention, the ongoing discussions around Public Transit and how to maximize transportation alternatives.)


Mercifully, the city council is now moving away from what were standing jokes and guffaws at council meetings, whenever Green/ Sustainability issues were raised.


However, now that the proposed gaming centre project has stalled, (through no fault of the city), perhaps this is an opportunity to pause, take a deep breath, establish a legitimate, well-publized Public Imput Process, to re-examine the gaming centre issues. … documentable benefits, drawbacks & concerns, before we stumble on into an unknown future.


Raymond Koehler

Categories: General


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