Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April 9, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Bingo expansion at Cascades Casino supported

In a 4-3 vote, Langley City council decided to support the relocation of Playtime Langley Bingo into Cascades Casino. Relocation of gaming is governed by the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC); one of their requirements for a relocation is approval from the host local government.

Langley City, in accordance with BCLC requirements, scheduled a public hearing to seek public feedback. Langley City also sent letters to the Township of Langley and City of Surrey to solicit their feedback. The City of Surrey replied that they had no comments regarding the proposed relocation. The Township of Langley did not reply.

At the public hearing which was held at the end of February, people expressed concern that there would not be enough accessible parking close to casino entrances. There was also general concern from the community about the loss of the Summit Theatre entertainment venue. Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, Cascades’ operator, submitted a response to the questions raised by the public and council.

On the matter of parking, Gateway noted that seniors who are passengers can be dropped off at the closest casino entrance. Drivers can then find a parking spot. In my opinion, this didn’t address providing more accessible parking close to casino entrances. Their reply also assumed that people with disabilities, or with limited mobility, will always have an able-bodied person with them.

On the matter of the live entertainment, the former Summit Theatre saw about 30 events per year. Gateway has committed to booking at least 5 events per year in the upgraded convention centre ballroom. The following renderings show what the upgraded ballroom will look like.

Ballroom configuration for live performances. Select rendering to enlarge.

Ballroom with banquet configuration for live performances. Select rendering to enlarge.

As the rendering shows, this is not a performing art centre.

Council had three choices to make regarding the relocation. Approve it, deny it, or delay it to allow more time for Gateway to address the concerns brought forward during the public hearing.

While I fully support the addition of bingo at the casino, I felt that the parking matter was not fully addressed. I did not support the motion to approve the relocation at last night’s meeting for that reason. Councillor Albrecht and Councillors Martin also did not support the motion, wanting more time for Gateway to address concerns. Like me, both supported the addition of bingo at the casino.

After the meeting, I talked with one of the Gateway folks who said that they would look into providing more accessible parking next to casino entrances.

Throughout this week, I will be posted about the other matters addressed at last night’s council meeting.

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