I need more information.

– Mayor Darrell Mussato

Mayor Darrell Mussatto so began his final thoughts after over two hours of Monday’s Policy Committee Meeting to consider the current Zoning Bylaw prohibiting gaming facilities within the City of North Vancouver.  He entered a motion to Council that additional information be provided before any decision will be made.

I would like to know about similar application experiences in all of the other Lower Mainland municipalities. Also I would like to know how much a referendum specifically would cost if we were to run one. These are questions I would like to know before I go any further down that road.

– Mayor Darrell Mussato

The meeting, chaired by Councillor Rod Clark centred on a proposal to allow gaming in the City of North Vancouver. It involved presentations from BCLC and Playtime Community Gaming Centres, which operates four other such facilities throughout the province. In addition there were presentations by City Planner Michael Epp, Vancouver Coastal Health officer Mark Lysyshyn and questions from a dozen members of the public. Queries ranged from the transparency of the selection of Playtime by BCLC to concern from some First Nations groups and a few speakers in full support of the proposal as an entertainment option.

If allowed, Playtime will seek to build a Gaming Centre with up to 300 slot machines with no actual live table games, but including restaurant and entertainment space. The proposal promises up to 120 jobs created as well as an injection of two million dollars in tax revenue for the City. While not officially stated during this meeting, it is common knowledge that the desired spot for the facility is Lot 5 at Shipbuilders Square near the foot of Lonsdale.

Councillor Pam Bookham was the most vehemently against the proposal during the often contentious meeting.

If we are entertaining the idea of a plebiscite, I think we missed the boat with the last election. That should have been an opportunity for the community to weigh in by way of a ballot question, it would not have cost us any additional money.

– Councillor Pam Bookham

A vote of 6-1 passed Mussatto’s motion to gain more information with no immediate timeframe for the next step of the process. Needless to say, it will be some time still before North Vancouver citizens can plug a quarter into a slot machine within the boundary of their own city.

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