Despite objections from a community leader, Saanich council tasked staff to look into whether the community could host a casino. (Black Press File).

Despite objections from community, Saanich calls for more info about casino

Long-time community leader calls on Saanich to hold all bets

Saanich council cast the die to get more info about attracting a casino in the future, despite objections from a leading community figure and some personal reservations from individual councillors.

Council unanimously tasked staff to update the issue after Victoria declined to host a casino after it had already beaten Saanich for the right to host.

“This is simply a request for information, an update,” said Coun Susan Brice, who had tabled the notice of motion. “It is embedded in what a previous council had taken as an opportunity…for Saanich.”

RELATED: Potential and pitfalls await Saanich as ponders casino

RELATED: Councillor wants to see if casino is in the cards for Saanich

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

Council’s unanimous support for additional research came after it heard from Haji Charania, president of the North Quadra Community Association. The long-time community leader strenuously objected to the motion for additional information sparking a short but sharp exchange with Mayor Fred Haynes.

“My ethical, moral and socio-economic values do not support this motion at all,” he said as council received public input before voting. “With due respect, I must say I’m surprised and somewhat disappointed that this motion has come from one of our senior and experienced councillors, Coun. Brice.”

Council, he said, should champion environmental causes supported by Brice “and forget about the gaming.”

This comment prompted a rebuke from the mayor. “Talk to council in general, or I will have to turn your mic off,” Haynes said.

Charania repeated his opposition but in more general terms.

If Charania’s opposition was vociferous, the public also heard more nuanced tones from councillors.

Coun. Ned Taylor said he does not necessarily support a casino coming to Saanich, but he wants to receive more information before making a final decision.

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau echoed Taylor. “I’m quickly learning there are times in politics, when you have to set aside, at least for a moment, your personal feelings or judgments that you may have in order to fully evaluate [something] with an open mind,” she said. “This is one of those times.”

Haynes was less reserved in his endorsement of the motion. A casino as part of a larger entertainment complex could help Saanich generate more commercial taxes, easing the burden on residential taxpayers, who are currently responsible for raising 76.21 per cent of municipal taxes.

RELATED: Saanich rejects call for tax relief in confirming commercial share of taxes

“Those who do not choose to gamble, or have distaste of gambling, they don’t have to use that facility,” he said.

The region will likely host a second casino somewhere, if the market bears it, he added. “So why would this go to the West Shore, or some other city, if Saanich was second in line in the previous competition?” he asked. “So by this expression of interest for a report, I’m hoping that the [British Columbia Lottery Corporation] recognize that there is a return of our interest.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Christmas lights appear on Oak Bay Avenue

Installation marks the countdown to the annual Christmas Light Up

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s second steel shipment arrives safely

The GVHA’s original shipment was lost at sea in December 2018

Oak Bay police respond to three car crashes in a week

Thief pulls smash and grab from store window on Oak Bay Avenue

Monster Truck Chaos comes to Victoria, tickets on sale Friday

Monster Truck Chaos rumbles into Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Jan. 25 and 26

Bright red salmon appear at Saanich’s Colquitz River fish fence

Local preschool group looks on in delight while volunteers work

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Most Read