Hammonds Plains gambling centre stirs controversy
Local residents upset as Shubenacadie band plans for 45 VLTs
The Shubenacadie band is opening a gambling centre in Hammonds Plains with the hope it will bring in much needed money, but the move has upset local residents and VLT foes.
The band owns approximately 55 hectares of land in the area. Right now, it wants to house 45 video lottery terminals in one building.
"Phase 1 is basically a seed phase," said Nathan Sack, a spokesman for the band. "It’s an opportunity for the band to generate extra revenue."
The revenue will be aimed at improving the poor housing situation in Indian Brook First Nation, the band said.
The band has not made a decision on what Phases 2 and 3 will look like. The province has given it permission to add another 100 VLTs and Sack said he expects they will be part of the development.
But a new gambling centre in the area is not sitting well with neighbours. Matt Whitman, the councillor for Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets, said people are unhappy with the centre's proposed location.
"They're upset about how close it is to the school, Hammonds Plains Consolidated School is right there," Whitman said Wednesday.
"How close it is to a busy intersection, a busy road that's worn out and already dangerous enough and high impact on the traffic. Everyone I chat with is concerned."
The band said it wants to be a good neighbour and has met with Whitman and local residents.
One man who has lobbied to have video lottery terminals banned in Nova Scotia said the idea upsets him.
"The only profit that can come this is on the backs of addicts," Terry Fulmer told CBC News.
Sack points out VLTs are already operated in bars and other places.
"I just know that they're out there and the band wants to use that as an opportunity to make some positive changes for us," he said.