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

Councillor wants to see if casino is 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

Green New Deal meeting in Sooke part of a larger movement

Humanity has 4,000 days left before it will be too late

Small crews battle ravenous invasive bullfrogs that gobble up native species

American bullfrogs diet includes smaller native frogs, local salamanders and songbirds

Council pursues water line extension for north Sooke

Properties affected by Highway 14 project may see water service

ArtsAlive voting begins Thursday in Oak Bay

Residents can vote for the 2019 ArtsAlive top prize

Tuesday will be mainly cloudy

Plus your weekly forecast

Oak Bay mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Jury to make recommendations based on death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

EDITORIAL: Sooke council’s pot approach an opportunity lost

When the federal government tabled Bill 36 in September 2018, it threw… Continue reading

Sooke residents can’t be trusted to have dogs off-leash

Council delegation questions why five of seven restricted parks are in Sooke

Most Read