Could Saanich host a casino in the future? Council could ask staff to update the issue as early as next month. (Black Press File).

Is a casino in the cards for Saanich?

Coun. Susan Brice wants staff to look into issue

A Saanich councillor wants to see if the dice are still hot for a casino in Saanich.

Coun. Susan Brice plans to file a notice of motion that asks staff to update the issue.

Saanich was among two communities that the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) had short-listed for a new South Island casino in 2016. In July 2017, the BCLC announced Victoria ahead of Saanich as the preferred municipality to host a second gaming facility in the region, an announcement Mayor Lisa Helps called “good news” for the city at the time. Victoria has since announced that it is not longer interested in hosting a casino.

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

Helps pointed among other reasons to a March 2018 report by lawyer and RCMP veteran Peter German, which states that casinos in the Lower Mainland had “unwittingly served as laundromats for the proceeds of organized crime.”

Helps said these findings had changed the “landscape with regard to Victoria’s willingness” to host a casino.

“Since 2015, there have been substantial issues uncovered with regard to money laundering in B.C. casinos as well as potential links to the trafficking of fentanyl,” she said in a report. “The B.C. government is taking this issue seriously and is taking significant action to remedy this situation. Nonetheless prosecution of these offences is difficult.”

Conscious of this background, Saanich officials have stressed that discussions around a casino are exploratory — nothing more.

Mayor Fred Haynes said he strongly supports the opportunity for this current council to have a conversation about potentially hosting a casino that would be part of a larger entertainment complex

“It’s not to be interpreted as an outright strong support for a casino,” said Haynes.

Hosting a casino could be a financial bonus for Saanich. Local governments that host a casino or gaming facility receive a 10 per cent share of the province’s net gaming income generated by the facility.

Haynes said this council was not just elected to deal with housing and the environment, but also generate economic development as part of a larger agenda to reduce Saanich’s reliance on residential property owner for tax revenues.

According to a staff report, 76.21 per cent of property taxes come from residential properties, with 23.15 per cent coming from businesses. Utilities (0.35 per cent), light industry (0.17 per cent) and recreation (0.12 per cent) make up the rest.

Council would debate Brice’s notice of motion at its next meeting.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Sun on its way after southern Vancouver Island’s wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say ongoing off-and-on drizzle likely to end soon

World’s fastest bathtub racer to be determined this weekend in Nanaimo

Great International World Championship Bathtub Race caps full weekend of downtown events

After Victoria dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Who has the softest environmental footprint on Vancouver Island?

13 Vancouver Island councils and boards sign up for climate challenge to find out

Citizens tackle jewel thief in downtown Duncan

Suspect taken into custody after watch-snatcher chased through the streets

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Trudeau in Victoria to announce $79M investment in public transit

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund 118 more buses across B.C. to cut commutes

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Most Read