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South of the Fraser in Delta things are progressing just like you’d expect in a place pretty rooted in trucking related business, highways, and advocating for the multi-billion dollar oversized ten lane Massey Bridge.

At the first meeting of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation the new Mayor of Delta George Harvie (who was Delta’s city manager until May 2018) wanted to get the bridge going again, despite the fact that under the previous Mayors’ Council every other Metro Mayor had rejected it. New chair of the Mayors’ Council, Jonathan Cote reminded the Mayor of Delta that having or not having a bridge was not in the Mayors’ Council’s jurisdiction.

That Delta mayor just has to wait for the findings of the Province’s consultant who has reviewed the bridge and alternatives, and the report which will be presented to the Mayors’ Council some time soon in advance of being released to the public.

Meanwhile the City of Delta received happier news that the B.C. Lottery Corporation gave final approval to the “Cascades Casino Delta” which will be located on the site of the old Delta Town and Country Inn on the Delta side of the Massey tunnel. Delta Council has fast tracked approval of this 70 million dollar facility with 61,000 square feet and an associated 800 stall parking lot. The casino will  be located on property owned by Shato Holdings, Ron Toigo of White Spot fame. Mr. Toigo is also the developer of Tsawwassen Springs, a luxury home golf course community in Tsawwassen where the current mayor of Delta resides.

All that is missing for the Casino development to go ahead is  access permit approvals from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation. Price Tags has previously written about the fact that 75% of casino customers who gamble casually provide only 4% of the revenues. Between 40% to 60% of casino revenues are earned from problem gamblers drawn from the ranks of the vulnerable elderly. Half of casino visitors are over 50 years of age, but casinos market themselves to the over 70 year and even over 80-year-old market, offering gambling as an escape from boredom and loneliness into a world of “rapid fire electronic stimuli.”

With more than 15% of Delta’s population over 65 years of age, the new casino will have a captive market driving to this location, or taking the casino bus. This isolated location is not well served with transit.

But this is progress in Delta, where two million dollars annually is expected to be reaped from the casino by the municipality. And the casino’s remote location provides one more reason for Delta to call for the overbuilt Massey Bridge to be constructed so that customers from other parts of the region can drive to the casino too.

Somehow this all fits Delta’s current direction which should have been looking at how to strengthen the existing businesses and town centres of Tsawwassen,Ladner, and North Delta, providing resiliency as places to live, work and thrive. A casino does none of that.

Here is a YouTube video of an Ontario produced television segment on seniors’ problem gambling in that province.

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