Richmond mayor slams casino project approved by Delta council
Malcolm Brodie says planned development near Massey Tunnel not served by transit, could affect farmland
The mayor of Richmond, B.C., has criticized plans for a new casino development just across the Fraser River in the City of Delta.
Malcolm Brodie has raised concerns about the lack of transit infrastructure and the potential impact on farming land of the project, which is slated to be built at the south end of the Massey Tunnel.
Delta council has given final approval to the plans, which include a casino, a five-storey hotel and restaurants.
The company behind the proposal, Gateway Casinos, says hundreds jobs will be created and the City of Delta will collect anywhere from $1.5 million to $3 million in annual revenue.
Delta Coun. Bruce McDonald says the benefits are too good to pass up.
"They want to invest $75 million in your community," he said. "They want to employ 700 people and they are prepared to make modifications as we've requested."
But Brodie says the location of the development, near the intersection of Highway 99 and Highway 17A, is terrible.
"It's in a car-oriented destination without any real public transportation and without any likely development around it because it's on agricultural land," he said.
"If they do develop on it, then it will impact on the Agricultural Land Reserve."
Brodie is also concerned the new casino will siphon gamblers from the River Rock Casino in his city.
The final decision on whether the project will proceed will be made by the B.C. Lottery Corporation.
Brodie says Richmond is sending a letter that outlines his concerns to the BCLC, which could lead to a dispute resolution hearing.
The majority of Delta city council supports the project, but councillors Jeannie Kanakos and Heather King voted against it.
Kanakos says most of the debate and public input came before Peter German released his report that revealed more than $100 million in dirty money has been laundered through B.C. casinos.
"We really did not have the meat of the matter in terms of understanding what the implications from a public safety perspective are," she said.
"This process, examining this casino, has been rushed and flawed."
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson says she wouldn't have signed off on the casino if she didn't believe the province and police could handle the money laundering issue.
"The minister is going to be ensuring that all the recommendations are going to be met and if he doesn't, we have a wonderful police department that will see that they are," she said.
"If that is troubling to some people, I think we should have some faith not only in the German report and that being incorporated, but in our own police department as well."
Gateway hopes to break ground on the project in the fall and have a grand opening in 2020.