The unprecedented circumstances of the last almost 12 months have taken their toll on the world economy. The closing down of business had governments looking for new ways of funding its budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. That has also been the case with Richmond which was also heavily struck by the financial crisis, that is why the city will rely on gaming revenue to fund several projects.
City hall recently announced that the city will use money generated by the local gambling property of River Rock Casino & Resort, in order to fund and finalize some urgent matters. Authorities were dependent on even more revenue from the casino, but unfortunately, it has been shut down from operating ever since the month of March last year.
Improving Infrastructure and More
Despite being non-operational for almost a year now, the city staff will be able to use some of the previously generated revenue to find solutions to some of its capital problems. With almost CA$1.9 million being eyed to fund three projects that will benefit the city greatly. The projects are HVAC upgrades to Hamilton Community Centre, emergency power to the community safety building, and sidewalks and streetlight improvements.
Council discussed on Tuesday’s budget meeting fixing of what issues can no longer be delayed. The RCMP community safety building was mentioned due to its back-up power supply is experiencing difficulties. Meaning that in time of an emergency the building might not have enough power to keep everything running, which in a such situation may be a little bit tricky.
Coun. Alexa Loo expressed her intention to support the proposal of improving the non-sufficient power supply at the building by stating that it is a must happen rather than should happen eventually. The emergency power supply replacement in the RCMP community property is expected to cost the city around CA$$890,000.
Then, there is the HVAC system at Hamilton Community Centre will roughly estimate to CA$500,000 in cost, and sidewalk and streetlight redevelopment and replacement worth around CA$500,000 as well. The city administration has not advised for the projects to be approved in this year’s capital budget, which is not yet final until the next council meeting.
On a slightly dimmer note, Richmond has been involved in plenty of controversies over the years with money laundering and illegal casino den scandals. The summer of 2020 saw the police department storm several suspicious locations where numerous gambling items were found. Poker chips, along with several gaming tables were found by the police. The illicit gambling dens
The Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering has conducted an investigation about the alleged illegal activities, and River Rock Casino in Richmond has been one of the most mentioned locations. According to testimonies heard in the inquiry the casino was a preferred destination for Chinese high rolling players to wash their crime-originate money over the last ten or more years.
Source: Rantanen, Maria “Gaming money earmarked for Richmond capital upgrades”, Richmond News, February 17, 2021