This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Vancouver casino project would likely hurt fortunes of area businesses

I apologize for the delay today in posting this weeks column, but with two sick kiddies on the couch today, my time has been limited.

This week, Brent and I battle over the new Paragon proposal for an ‘urban resort’. Where do you stand on this issue, or does it matter to you at all?

The winner of last week’s duel on LNG exploration was Laila Yuile with 54%.

This week’s topic:

Should Vancouver city council approve the newly proposed ‘urban resort’ with casino near BC Place?

With the announcement that Paragon Gaming and partners are putting forth a new proposal for an “urban resort” in Vancouver, everything old is new again. Following the defeat of its earlier proposal to build a mega-casino near BC Place stadium, Paragon has come back to the table with a concept that would occupy several blocks. Included in the plan are two hotels, conference space and a relocation of the Edgewater Casino, along with an array of shops, restaurants and services.

When I think back to the 1990s and the attempt by Las Vegas casino tycoon Steve Wynn to build an urban, high-end casino and convention centre — complete with two cruise ship berths — it does indeed seem like everything old is new again. That proposal was similar in many ways to the current Paragon Gaming project.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

Wynn’s failed project was called Seaport Centre and it promised a thousand hotel rooms in addition to the convention centre, cruise ship berths and casino. Interestingly enough, Wynn’s partner in that proposal was none other than Concert Properties, run by David Podmore. Yes, the same David Podmore who resigned as chair of BC Pavilion Corporation, which just happens to own the land that Paragon’s proposed “urban resort” would be building on if approved.

Vancouver said no to Wynn and Podmore back in the 1990s, backed by a strong grassroots message. Vancouver also said no to Paragon’s first attempt at installing a mega-casino complex in Vancouver in 2011. I strongly feel Vancouver city council should say no to Paragon’s new “urban resort” proposal as well….

READ the rest of this weeks column, and vote for who you think should win this weeks duel at:

6 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Vancouver casino project would likely hurt fortunes of area businesses

  1. I’m neutral on this one….. despite not being a gambler and having little to no interest in becoming one. That said, there must be money in this project for someone????? I’m just not sure that the financial arguement in support of this project will translate into real economic benefit for the people of Vancouver and surrounding area.
    It is also strange that at time many casino operators across the U.S. are struggling to maintain their sales volumes, this project is being sold as a panacea for success. Sorry, we are all in a global economic struggle, the end of which is not yet in sight. There are far more down side indicators for global recovery than to the upside. So, are there not better choices if you drill down to the tourism arguement? I don’t know about you, but most vacations taken by most people are not focused on gambling.
    I hope the fair minded citizens of Vancouver stick to their guns and question (oppose) this project. It sounds far too much like the same old, same old and that makes me very suspicious of the sales pitch we will no doubt have to endure.


    1. Excellent and thoughtful comment Mike. I agree too, with all the same names it just sounds like there is more of something going on than we know about. And I suspect that unless someone firmly examines whether or not there is an ability to expand gambling in the future as well.

      We all know what happened in Surrey when the casino proposal was not approved— expanded gaming became a possibility for one of Surreys poorest neighbourhood.


  2. Unless the anti-casino coalition can mount as furious and effective opposition as they did last time, this will pass. City council cares not a whit for the destruction of small and even medium sized businesses as they have demonstrated time and time again. The fact that it is not an election year bodes poorly for the anti-casino forces.


    1. It doesn’t appear that they have been so far, but then again the biggest argument they have used is gambling and addiction, which for me just doesn’t hold as much argument unless done in large numbers. Alcohol and tobacco are both addictive substances that cost our government millions every year and alcohol has ruined families more often than gambling I would suspect. Yet we don’t see anyone demanding we shut down the BC liquor stores, nor do we see anyone complain when and if a new one is opened.

      For me, this project is more about the impact on the surrounding area businesses and residents.


  3. It is the Hastings park site that needs expansion and upgrading if any such need exists in Vancouver. Downtown, already brimming with entertainment options, has no such need at all. Edgewater ought to be rolled east, not west..


  4. Right on the money Beer. Hastings Park is looking old an done and could be, with a visionary mind, brought forth into something people would come from far and wide to enjoy.

    Gregors idea of an upgrade would be adding a dedicated bike lane all the way to Hastings Park ( if there isn’t one already, I don’t honestly know)


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