The B.C. Lottery Corporation has reached out to Saanich council in hopes of entering into discussions about the district potentially hosting the South Island’s second casino. (Black Press Media file photo)

The B.C. Lottery Corporation has reached out to Saanich council in hopes of entering into discussions about the district potentially hosting the South Island’s second casino. (Black Press Media file photo)

After lengthy meeting, Saanich postpones talk of rolling the dice on casino

District expressed interest in hosting south Island’s second gaming facility in 2015

After a lengthy meeting on Monday, Saanich council shuffled some matters, including a discussion about a possible casino and entertainment facility, to next week.

The agenda for the April 26 special council meeting was jam-packed – with topics ranging from a proposed food truck pilot project to a moratorium on recreation wolf hunting – and after several hours, council agreed to postpone the remaining topics to the next meeting on May 3.

Among the deferred agenda items was the matter of renewing the district’s expression of interest to the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) for Saanich to host the region’s second casino.

READ ALSO: New south Island casino could be in the cards for Saanich

The former council expressed interest in 2015. Saanich and Victoria were shortlisted the following year, but the lottery corporation eventually settled on the capital city. A short time later, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps announced the city was no longer interested due to concerns about a casino potentially drawing illicit activity.

Saanich, remained optimistic and in 2020, the BCLC invited the district to discuss moving forward. The pandemic delayed these discussions but Mayor Fred Haynes and long-time proponent Coun. Susan Brice said in March the timing was right to resume the conversation.

READ ALSO: Food trucks get green light to roll into 3 Saanich parks this summer

Along with a staff report, council received an influx of correspondence from residents sharing their thoughts on the proposed gaming facility. Some voiced support for the casino, noting the entertainment opportunities and that the municipality would receive 10 per cent of the annual profit, while others expressed concerns about such a facility making gambling more accessible to those who are addicted and bringing illicit activity to Saanich.


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