Last Thursday, City of Delta held its third public information meeting over Gateway’s proposal to build a $70-million entertainment complex at the 11-acre site of Delta Town and Country Inn. Delta staff, representatives from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited were available at Harris Barn from 4 pm to provide further information on Gateway’s application and answer questions. The meeting was attended by several of Delta’s civic advisory committees raising concerns over Gateway’s casino proposal.
The public information meeting was attended by a dozen members of the public, who gathered at Harris Barn to hear what Gateway has to say about its proposal to build a new entertainment complex in Delta. Gateway’s representatives were challenged by a number of questions from members of the various committees. Among all other things, the members of the committees discussed their concerns related to the social, economic and environmental impacts of hosting a casino in Delta.
Community Concerns Persist over Gateway’s Casino Proposal
One of the questions was related to the proportion of gaming revenue derived from the local residents, asking whether the revenue would be fresh money for Delta’s economy or redirected money in the community. Brad Desmarais, BCLC’s vice-president of casino and community gaming explained that the revenue will be considered “entertainment dollars”, i.e. the amount of money that people budget for entertainment.
A member of the community planning committee explained that the committee supports Gateway’s intention to build a full-fledged entertainment complex, but it should be located away from residences. The committee member explained that the gambling facility may become a spark to a gambling fire across the city.
To soothe the concerns of members who worried the entertainment complex could increase the crime rate, Gateway Chief Administrative Officer Jag Nijjar explained that 120 security and surveillance personnel will be tasked with preventing crime at Delta casino. In addition to that, the entertainment complex will be equipped with hundreds of cameras to further deter crime.
Police Chief Neil Dubord added that the RCMP’s integrated illicit gambling team is well-trained to combat money laundering practices. Traffic issues appeared to be a key concern. It was reported that Gateway is currently exploring the options to efficiently deal with that problem.
Gateway is hoping to turn the first sod of Delta entertainment complex this fall. Supposing that everything goes according to plan, the complex is to welcome its first guests in 2020. Gateway’s representatives explained that the entertainment center is to include a “modest-sized” casino, equipped with 500 slot machines, 24 gaming tables and up to 6 e-tables. The company is also to capitalize on the opportunity to boost its non-gambling revenue by adding various non-gambling amenities such as restaurants, bars, a hotel complex and meeting facilities.