'Good news for Victoria': BCLC selects capital city for new casino
The City of Victoria is getting a casino.
On Friday, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation announced its pick for the location of the new gaming facility.
The corporation said it will develop a casino to “suit the market” in Victoria, with the View Royal Casino remaining the primary facility in the region.
“We would like to introduce another entertainment option for adults and tourists in Greater Victoria through a new gaming facility that will provide accessibility and a different experience and that is why we selected the City of Victoria,” BCLC's president and CEO Jim Lightbody said.
Victoria's mayor said the decision means a new opportunity for the city.
"It’s good news for Victoria," Lisa Helps said. "Before any casino goes in, anywhere in Victoria there will be an in-depth public process because there’s not a site in Victoria currently zoned for a casino."
The decision on the size and scope of the new location will depend on the proposed redevelopment plans for the View Royal Casino.
While the View Royal facility will be expanded, the new gaming facility in Victoria will be a smaller, boutique style casino, Lightbody said.
Last month, the city identified two locations as potential sites for a casino – the Crystal Garden and the lot next to it, which is currently operated as a rental car parking lot.
Other suggestions included somewhere along Belleville Street in James Bay.
According to Helps, the Crystal Garden is not a preferred location.
"We have a casino policy that lays out where we would prefer a casino to be and it’s in the Douglas Blanshard corridor and in the tourist precinct of downtown and James Bay," Helps said.
Helps highlighted that a good site would be the one beside Crystal Garden.
"The city owns it, we could sell it or lease it, put underground parking, a casino and a hotel right where the two car rental places are at the corner of Douglas and Humboldt. That’s a good idea," Helps told CTV News.
The mayor said the next step is for lottery corporation to choose an operator, who will then propose a site and work with community staff and council to go though a re-zoning process.
"We are definitely going to consult with the public on this and we're going to work with the city staff and council and mayor of Victoria to provide something that they can be proud of, something that will add to the many other tourist attractions that Victoria has," Lightbody said.
An evaluation team with BCLC reviewed final submissions from both the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria to reach its decision.
All submissions were scored on criteria related to community support, geographic, economic and demographic considerations.