After a lengthy meeting on Monday, Saanich council shuffled some matters, including a discussion about a possible casino and entertainment facility, to next week.
The agenda for the April 26 special council meeting was jam-packed – with topics ranging from a proposed food truck pilot project to a moratorium on recreation wolf hunting – and after several hours, council agreed to postpone the remaining topics to the next meeting on May 3.
Among the deferred agenda items was the matter of renewing the district’s expression of interest to the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) for Saanich to host the region’s second casino.
The former council expressed interest in 2015. Saanich and Victoria were shortlisted the following year, but the lottery corporation eventually settled on the capital city. A short time later, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps announced the city was no longer interested due to concerns about a casino potentially drawing illicit activity.
Saanich, remained optimistic and in 2020, the BCLC invited the district to discuss moving forward. The pandemic delayed these discussions but Mayor Fred Haynes and long-time proponent Coun. Susan Brice said in March the timing was right to resume the conversation.
Along with a staff report, council received an influx of correspondence from residents sharing their thoughts on the proposed gaming facility. Some voiced support for the casino, noting the entertainment opportunities and that the municipality would receive 10 per cent of the annual profit, while others expressed concerns about such a facility making gambling more accessible to those who are addicted and bringing illicit activity to Saanich.
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