Despite objections from a community leader, Saanich council tasked staff to look into whether the community could host a casino. (Black Press File).

Despite objections from community, Saanich calls for more info about casino

Long-time community leader calls on Saanich to hold all bets

Saanich council cast the die to get more info about attracting a casino in the future, despite objections from a leading community figure and some personal reservations from individual councillors.

Council unanimously tasked staff to update the issue after Victoria declined to host a casino after it had already beaten Saanich for the right to host.

“This is simply a request for information, an update,” said Coun Susan Brice, who had tabled the notice of motion. “It is embedded in what a previous council had taken as an opportunity…for Saanich.”

RELATED: Potential and pitfalls await Saanich as ponders casino

RELATED: Councillor wants to see if casino is in the cards for Saanich

RELATED: Saanich ready to roll the dice on casino

RELATED: Victoria no longer interested in hosting a downtown casino

READ MORE: Money laundering in B.C. casinos was a ‘collective’ system failure

Council’s unanimous support for additional research came after it heard from Haji Charania, president of the North Quadra Community Association. The long-time community leader strenuously objected to the motion for additional information sparking a short but sharp exchange with Mayor Fred Haynes.

“My ethical, moral and socio-economic values do not support this motion at all,” he said as council received public input before voting. “With due respect, I must say I’m surprised and somewhat disappointed that this motion has come from one of our senior and experienced councillors, Coun. Brice.”

Council, he said, should champion environmental causes supported by Brice “and forget about the gaming.”

This comment prompted a rebuke from the mayor. “Talk to council in general, or I will have to turn your mic off,” Haynes said.

Charania repeated his opposition but in more general terms.

If Charania’s opposition was vociferous, the public also heard more nuanced tones from councillors.

Coun. Ned Taylor said he does not necessarily support a casino coming to Saanich, but he wants to receive more information before making a final decision.

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau echoed Taylor. “I’m quickly learning there are times in politics, when you have to set aside, at least for a moment, your personal feelings or judgments that you may have in order to fully evaluate [something] with an open mind,” she said. “This is one of those times.”

Haynes was less reserved in his endorsement of the motion. A casino as part of a larger entertainment complex could help Saanich generate more commercial taxes, easing the burden on residential taxpayers, who are currently responsible for raising 76.21 per cent of municipal taxes.

RELATED: Saanich rejects call for tax relief in confirming commercial share of taxes

“Those who do not choose to gamble, or have distaste of gambling, they don’t have to use that facility,” he said.

The region will likely host a second casino somewhere, if the market bears it, he added. “So why would this go to the West Shore, or some other city, if Saanich was second in line in the previous competition?” he asked. “So by this expression of interest for a report, I’m hoping that the [British Columbia Lottery Corporation] recognize that there is a return of our interest.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic spurs egg-citement for backyard chickens in Greater Victoria

Fowl surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

Pandemic profiles: Passion at the heart of community businesses

Businesses rely on community support to stay open

Saanich looks at allowing alcohol in parks after North Vancouver gives the green light

Bylaw allowing liquor in parks ‘a very positive idea,’ mayor says

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read