Though restaurants, malls and fitness centres remain open amid the second wave of the pandemic, ‘Lady Luck’ has not been on Elements Casino’s side on the West Shore.
View Royal Mayor David Screech estimates the township will lose out on $2 million in revenue by the time the casino hits a full year of being closed since mid-March 2020.
“We have no idea when the casino might reopen,” said Screech. “But even when that happens, it might take time to get the customers back to the levels where it was pre-pandemic. The PHO [Dr. Bonnie Henry] doesn’t have the confidence to reopen and that’s alright.”
The township received $2.6 million in COVID-19 provincial relief funds, but still Screech believes council needs to be careful about their discretionary spending.
View Royal council will have to decide whether they’re able to afford another View Royal Fire Rescue truck to replace an aging one that will have to be decommissioned in the coming year or so. Screech said it takes 18 months between ordering a truck and receiving one, so that decision has yet to be made.
The mayor believes council in years past made a smart decision to not directly dedicate casino revenue for township operating expenses, but instead for capital projects, such as park improvements, sidewalk infrastructure and town hall upgrades. He said View Royal residents won’t have to worry about any major tax increases.
“We’re aware that although this revenue is great for our municipality, it can be volatile,” he said.
The casino brings an estimated $450,000 each quarter to View Royal. Screech pointed out that View Royal shares the percentage of revenue between Langford, Metchosin, Highlands, Sooke and Esquimalt.
A spokesperson with the City of Langford didn’t specify how much the municipality has lost, but said staff will be providing council with a financial update to review lost revenue as part of the 2021 budget process.
Cecelia Ho, BCLC media relations, said the lottery corporation has submitted its re-opening health and safety plans to WorkSafe BC and the provincial health officer for further direction.
All BCLC casinos, bingo halls and community gaming centres have been closed since March 16, 2020.
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