Tag Archives: Gaming

Ferris Wheel back again?

Coming up at CNV Council on Monday is a motion from Councillor Buchanan:

Ferris Wheel in Lower Lonsdale – File: 13-6740-20-0014/1

Submitted by: Councillor Buchanan

RECOMMENDATION: WHEREAS the development of the Shipyards is moving forward; WHEREAS the programming of the Shipyards has proven to be highly successful; AND WHEREAS the original plans for the Shipyards included a Ferris Wheel; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT staff investigate the feasibility of the City hosting a Ferris Wheel attraction in Lower Lonsdale during the summer of 2017 on a cost recovery basis.

This was previously considered and discounted in April 2015: https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/shipyards-plan-moving-ahead/

Quoting from the North Shore News: ‘Gone from the plan, however, is the ferris wheel at the end of the pier, which had been a lightning rod for criticism by opponents of the plan’.

There seems to be no mention of the ferris wheel in the City’s December 2016 update: http://www.cnv.org/parks-recreation-and-culture/city-waterfront/the-shipyards-lot-5.

Does this mean that the Casino could surface soon?  Many mentions in various media back to 2013 along with the ferris wheel.

 

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How a 91-year-old Victoria woman lost everything to gambling

Another cautionary tale addressed to the out-of-touch Mayor and his slate on CNV Council.   Article in the Times Colonist today:

 

Compulsive gambling led Elfriede Lippa into bankruptcy at 91 after she ran through the better part of $300,000, mainly by remortgaging her paid-off Victoria condo. Her son and daughter say they . . .

Source: How a 91-year-old Victoria woman lost everything to gambling

LETTER: Follow the money for clues on council’s casino reasoning

Comment from Voices:  The Casino discussion generated a lot of interest after the vote at CNV Council on June 27th.  The letter to Editor of the NS News (below) from former Councillor Heywood muses on one possible explanation.

 The Casino potential for good or evil, depending on your point of view, also generated this column by Paul Sullivan:  http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/columnists/sullivan-b-c-is-real-gambling-addict-in-casino-game-1.2297799

Councillor Back’s comments have been singled out by both Mr Heywood and Mr Sullivan. 

Dear Editor:

“Every breaking wave on the shore; Tells the next one there’ll be one more; And every gambler knows that to lose; Is what you’re really there for”

The U2 lyrics aptly capture the dynamic between the gambling industry and North Vancouver city hall.

When one proposal for a casino on the North Shore gets turned aside, you know that another one will follow. And while every gambler knows they are there to lose – or casinos wouldn’t be so profitable – the North Vancouver community will a big loser if this latest proposal slips through.

The other two North Shore local governments quickly dismissed the latest overture by the gambling industry to establish a long sought-after beachhead on the North Shore.

The Squamish council does not think a private casino is a good use of their land.

The city, however, has decided to give the casino operators and the B.C. Lottery Corporation reason to believe there has been a change of heart.

Coun. Linda Buchanan, who opposed the last application only a year ago and has a public health background, now says the North Shore’s chief medical and public health officers are “out of date.” Coun. Holly Back, who voted with the mayor in favour of the last unsuccessful proposal, was more direct. The city wants a casino because it wants the money.

Never mind that Coun. Back would have to participate in public hearings that require her to have an open mind. She “truly believe(s) we will get one in North Vancouver” and therefore would “rather see the money in our (the city’s) purse” than see it go to the First Nations or another North Shore local government.

If it is a casino we’re talking about this time, not just slot machines, the waterfront is not at all a suitable location. The well-heeled gamblers that the casinos pursue most ardently don’t ride the SeaBus. They arrive in expensive cars or limos. They want to be near an airport or just off the highway.

The only site in the city that comes close to being suitable is Harry Jerome. The interminable stalling by the city on rebuilding North Vancouver’s most important community recreation centre now makes more sense.

Like too many things at city hall, you need to follow the money to understand what’s really going on.

Guy Heywood
former councillor,
City of North Vancouver

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-follow-the-money-for-clues-on-council-s-casino-reasoning-1.2297804#sthash.8b2UoRE7.dpuf

Source: LETTER: Follow the money for clues on council’s casino reasoning

City of North Vancouver to consider casino again

Comment from Voices:  Once again the majority slate on Council voted AGAINST the staff recommendation (to advise BCLC that the City was not interested).   How many studies have been done and how many times have residents stated that they don’t want a gaming facility.  For a potential gain of maybe $2 million dollars?  
Councillors Bell, Bookham and Clark (the independent councillors not beholden to campaign contributors) are to be commended for trying not to waste time and money on more studies.  Once again, no indication that our Council majority consulted with our neighbours about the implications.

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After folding its hand last year, City of North Vancouver council is anteing up again for the possibility of commercial gambling.

In early June, the B.C. Lottery Corporation asked the North Shore’s three municipalities and two First Nations whether they’d be interested in hosting a gaming facility, giving them a deadline of July 15 to respond.

In 2015, the city debated and rejected a request to overturn its bylaw forbidding commercial gaming when a casino developer wanted to install slot machines at the Shipyards. But some members of council had a change of heart Monday night, voting to take another more general look.

Governments that host gaming facilities get a 10 per cent cut of the revenues, which BCLC estimated would be between $1.5 million to $2.2 million for a North Shore casino. That was money the city shouldn’t be sacrificing, said Coun. Holly Back.

“I truly believe we will get one in North Vancouver, whether it’s in the city or on band lands. I’d rather see the money in our purse than theirs,” she said.

Despite worries about negative community impacts, Back said she spoke with Burnaby and Richmond council members who had nothing but praise for the casinos they host.

“They both said they’ve had absolutely zero problems – in fact they’re probably the best tenants they have in their city,” she said, noting gaming facilities also bring jobs, amenity space and restaurants. “Everybody has this vision of this big scary thing and it’s not. They actually can be quite beautiful.”

Coun. Linda Buchanan was one member who changed her vote, largely because this proposal isn’t related to the Shipyards or any other public lands.

“The previous application was very specifically wanting to go on public property and we were very adamant, and I’m still very adamant, I would not support anything being on our waterfront,” she said.

And, she added, much of the research presented by opponents to the last proposal, including the North Shore’s medical health officer, was out of date.

“We have numerous gaming facilities throughout the province, so I’d like to see something in terms of data that’s far more relevant than the early 1990s because we don’t make any decisions based on science that’s particularly that old,” she said.

Coun. Craig Keating and Mayor Darrell Mussatto both voted in favour, stating the city wouldn’t be committing to anything other than investigating the proposal further. “I think we should at least look at the pros and cons to see how it would benefit or hurt the city,” Mussatto said.

With their four votes, the city will forward a non-binding expression of interest to BCLC.

Still, a contingent of council remained opposed, citing a lack of interest in gambling expressed by city residents.

“Since this issue became public … I think I’ve had one letter of support and I’ve had several indicating concern,” said Coun. Don Bell. “I personally think it’s an opportunity but there’s a cost associated with it as well and so I won’t be supporting the motion.”

Coun. Pam Bookham voted against the plan, adding a dose of salt for the province, which she said was being “deaf or indifferent” to the voice of the municipality.

“I find myself concerned that the province is pushing this upon our community without regard to the message that I thought we sent quite unambiguously the last time we discussed gaming in the city and indicated we were in fact not in favour,” she said. “This is about the province generating revenue through gaming, something that when they were first elected, they were adamant they were not going to do.”

Coun. Rod Clark rejected the notion that a North Shore casino was inevitable, saying he’d seen no indication from the other governments they were ready to host one. And B.C.’s chief medical health officer and the North Shore’s public health officer have both spoken against increasing gaming, he added.

The districts of North Vancouver and West Vancouver have decided against sending an expression of interest.

Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell said his council opted to not respond, saying simply being a host to a private casino wouldn’t be a good use of reserve land.

“Our desire or aspiration is to look at partnering or equity or having a licence directly to First Nations. That opportunity has not been afforded to Squamish Nation and we continue to push that issue with B.C. Lotto Corp.,” he said.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation did not respond to a request for comment.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/city-of-north-vancouver-to-consider-casino-again-1.2291971#sthash.sQuSs5c1.dpuf

Source: City of North Vancouver to consider casino again

Gordon Clark: Groundswell of opposition rises against city hall

‘But a mandate doesn’t eliminate the need for governments — especially local governments — to seek and seriously consider citizen input in specific plans, including compromising at times so some citizens don’t feel like they’re losing. City politics shouldn’t be such a blood sport.

If Vancouver is going be run between elections as a dictatorship beholding to wealthy interests and against the wishes of citizens, we don’t have a first-world problem. It sounds more like a third-world problem.’

This editorial  (Source: Gordon Clark: Groundswell of opposition rises against city hall) in the Province refers to Vancouver City Hall, but there are many parallels to the City of North Van.  We were reminded of this at Council last night when the ‘Gaming Facility’ was being discussed again.  How many times has it come up before?  Did any Council members receive election funding?  

We were initially relieved to read the staff report that the “City is not interested in hosting …”.    Did our Mayor discuss the possibility with our neighbouring municipalities?  Did we really hear Councillor Back state “I’d rather the City got the millions rather than them”.. which of our neighbours was she referring to? It sounded to us to be our Tsleil-Waututh Nation neighbour.  Us and them?

Earlier story (Jan 2016) with background:   http://www.nsnews.com/news/casino-developer-sues-lottery-corp-1.2152868 

 

 

Gaming and ‘Back room deals’ aka ‘Hardball Politics’

Last night during the Policy Committee Meeting at Council, there were some interesting revelations as well as many contradictory statements.  Such as:

– that Playtime Gaming (the proponent) had provided paid staff to work on the Mayor’s slate ‘phone bank’ pushing ‘like minded’ Mayor and Council candidates during the November civic election

-that the proponent had discussed using Lot 5 in the Shipyards but Roger Brooks didn’t seem to support it

-that the proponent may have considered placing the ‘gaming facility’ at Harbourside but changed their minds

-that the proponent believed that the Squamish Nation was not interested, however the BC Lottery Corp said they continue to have discussions.

Chairman Rod Clark wrapped up the meeting and brought up ‘Hardball Politics’ – never in his knowledge has there been a hardball political organization funding four Council members with a phone bank (in-kind) donation.  He also expressed concern that ‘somehow’ this may end up with having to be placed on Lot 5 in the future.

Councillor Bookham spoke with concern and passion about this process.  Given that discussions had continued with the Mayor during the campaign, why was this not a campaign issue?  Why the code of silence?   She believes that this should have been a ballot question in November in order to gauge the level of support in the community.   She likened BCLC’s choosing of the proponent almost feudal in the way a territory has been identified and a particular company given the opportunity – there is nothing fair or transparent about it.   She said that this proposal did not pass the smell test.

One speaker stated that this policy change would be a monumental shift of cultural and social change. He believes, given the voter turnout in November,  that Council members have no mandate to make this decision .

We requested the wording of the passed motion from the City Clerk but the ‘wording has not yet been finalized’.  The Mayor said that he wanted more information.  We would also like more information.  With all the other priorities in the City, why is this before Council five months after the election when there was not a whisper during the campaign.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Fred Dawkins spoke at the meeting last night, and has written the following Editorial:

I want to respond to a couple of the arguments raised by Mayor Mussatto and members of his council slate at last night’s Policy Committee discussion on gaming.

The mayor all but called those opposed to a North Shore casino hypocrites for accepting the revenue generated by gambling in other municipalities while speaking against it here. To that I say, we were never asked whether we supported the BC government’s ongoing expansion of gambling. We didn’t get to vote in Richmond when the issue came up there, or in Burnaby, or anywhere else. We only get to say what happens in our own community. Personally, if I had been given a vote on whether to allow casinos anywhere in BC, knowing what I know now I probably would have voted no. This is not a NIMBY issue, and I object to that characterization.

The mayor and Councilors Buchanan and Back also made a big deal of how so many local charities benefit from government grants generated by gambling revenue. To me, this is simply an example of political expediency on the part of the BC government. Stop the flow of gambling revenue and that grant money could just as easily come from higher taxes, or appealing to the community for voluntary giving. Of course, the provincial government is deathly afraid of incurring the wrath of taxpayers — it’s easier and safer to take the money from gamblers (and other “hidden” sources such as Crown corporations) instead.

The work that these charities do is admirable, and I assume it’s much needed. But the biggest reason it’s needed is that the provincial government refuses to foot the bill themselves for necessary social services. After years of budget cuts the “social safety net” has been partly offloaded onto community charities. Once upon a time, charities handled their own fundraising; now they are increasingly dependent on gambling revenue doled out by government. Is that healthy? To me, no.

Finally, I thought the howls of wounded virtue over Councilor Bookham’s comments about campaign donations were a bit rich. The mayor and his slate have no one but themselves to blame for the cynicism caused by accepting campaign funding from companies — including Playtime in this case — who stand to benefit financially from the votes of those same representatives. To Councilor Keating’s comment that accepting those donations is perfectly legal — that’s not the issue and never has been. Lots of things that are unethical are not illegal; this is one example. And accepting money from rent-seekers is indeed illegal at higher levels of government, for the very good reason that it erodes public trust in the process. It doesn’t matter whether all the players in this game are acting totally honestly — the problem is, there’s no way for the public to know whether they are. It’s impossible not to suspect back room deals. That’s corrosive to democracy.

The level of cynicism I hear from people in the community over the campaign funding issue is quite disturbing. “They’re all corrupt,” is a common comment I hear. The fact that it’s not disturbing to the Mayor and his slate reflects badly on them, not on Councilor Bookham.

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City to reconsider slot machines/link to petition ‘Say NO’

Voices comment:  Coverage in the North Shore News of the decision at Council last Monday to ‘revive the debate and send it to a meeting of council’s policy committee for further study. ‘

Editorial:  Game Changer

The City of North Vancouver is certainly going to raise some eyebrows by opening up the debate over whether to allow for-profit gambling after banning it nearly 20 years ago.

Council’s policy committee will meet sometime in the future to study and debate the matter in detail.

Opponents at the council table attempted to shoot the plan down on the grounds that there simply wasn’t enough public demand for gaming on the North Shore to consider changing the rules. That might be true, but we say have the discussion.

Consult the public. Listen to what the experts have to say. That’s how good policy gets made.

The discussion needs to be framed around the millions in revenue it could mean for city taxpayers and the community groups that rely for gaming grants as well as the capacity gambling has to ruin lives.

Is easy money worth the social ills it breeds?

It’s also worth noting that this issue only came up because Playtime Gaming, which was a generous campaign donor to the mayor and his council allies, is hoping to put upwards of 300 slot machines on the redesigned Shipyards. Even if the city opts to allow the one-armed bandits back in town, it’s still another matter convincing the public they would be suitable for the waterfront.

And council has a gamble on its hands here. There’s nothing stopping Playtime from making their pitch to the District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver or either of North Shore’s First Nations.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/game-changer-1.1778241#sthash.YCpUHq6Q.dpuf

link to full article:   City to reconsider slot machines.

Comment by Ron Polly :

A community gets 10% of the ” net ” proceeds according to the rules set out by BC Lottery Corp .
The return to the City is expected to be in the $ 1.75 to $ 2.1 million range .
That means more than 21 million dollars a year will be siphoned off the local economy.
There is only so much discretionary income. So were does $ 21 miliion come from ? 
Does it come out of people’s rents, mortgages , kids bank accounts, grocery money or does it come out of the pockets of other business’s who are struggling to pay heavy City taxes and high rents ? 
There is no free money. It has to come from some where, 
The other concern is Playtime is a private company. Will we ever know who in the long run will benefit from such a lucrative license in the City of NV ?
Is any one who is involved in the decision process also involved in other ways ?
As you see returns are staggering . 
To win peoples trust why would a person use one company name to donate to a campaign while their other company is asking to introducing slot machines ? Is that a good way to start ?
Maybe we need a far more reaching and official look in to these matters ? 
To me it is a tax on the poor and desperate. 
The money’s they talk about for the community could easily be made up through some sharp pencil work at City Hall. 
Combining services and stop giving freebees to buddies would be a good start.

 – See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/city-to-reconsider-slot-machines-1.1777669#.dpuf 

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Comment by North Van City News (Dorothy Bell)  with link to petition:

North Vancouver City has passed a motion to look at locating gaming facilities in the City. I have taken the liberty of attaching the motion for your perusal. As you can see Mayor Darrell Mussatto, made the motion.

The motion comes directly after the municipal election where Tom Nellis under his company K & T Property Holdings own donated $14,000 to Mussatto and his team. Nellis is also President of Playtime Gaming and Bingo.

We very concerned that the newly elected majority on council will approve gambling in North Vancouver City in the near future. Please circulate this page to those that would be affected if a commercial Bingo facility was located here and encourage them to sign the online petition.

Say NO to Commercial Gaming:

http://www.northvancitynews.com/say-no-to-commercial-gambling/

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