Saanich to revisit casino idea
Saanich council voted 7–2 in favour of exploring the idea back in 2016. (File photo)
Published Monday, March 11, 2019 6:03PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, March 11, 2019 7:08PM PDT
Saanich council is voting Monday on whether to ask staff to update a report exploring a casino in the community.
The chances of a casino coming to town looked bleak until recently. But with Victoria council indicating it’s not interested in pursuing a gambling facility in the capital, all bets are off for the other municipalities.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps tells CTV News that while council voted last month to postpone sending a letter to the B.C. Lottery Corporation advising that it doesn’t want a casino, the reality is that most councillors have ruled out the idea. “The majority of council basically sent the idea off to the ether, so [there’s] no appetite of any sort to have a casino in Victoria,” Helps said.
Whether Saanich has an appetite for a casino remains unknown. Its previous council voted 7–2 in favour of exploring the idea back in 2016.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes won’t say whether he wants one or not, but says if a casino had amenities like a nice hotel, restaurants and a theatre for live music, it could present a good opportunity for generating tax revenue.
“One of the reasons why a casino has some appeal is that as Saanich struggles to get its percentage of taxes lifted from just residents onto commercial enterprise,” Haynes told the CFAX Noon Show.
Meanwhile View Royal Mayor David Screech worries whether the region can support another casino in addition to the one in View Royal.
“There’s no doubt that a smaller facility in downtown Victoria was not a great concern to us, but say another facility in the Uptown area of Saanich clearly could have definite impacts on our facility,” he said.