July 28, 2014 - 4:11 PM
KAMLOOPS - Relocating the Lake City Casino out of downtown will potentially weaken the core area and require ‘significant’ improvements to traffic and transportation in the Aberdeen and Pineview areas.
“The loss of the casino in the City Centre may have an impact on downtown's social and economic fabric,” Development Director Marvin Kwiatkowski said in a report to council. “Should a major landmark such as the casino relocate, there may be impacts on commercial or tourist uses such as restaurants and hotels in the immediate area. Additionally, with the continued relocation or closure of major facilities such as the Cineplex Odeon movie theatre, Bank of Montreal, and Kamloops Daily News, staff are concerned about the growing vacancy of large commercial and institutional spaces.”
Back in May the social planning committee did not want to voice an opinion for or against the proposal but Coun. Tina Lange said the group thought moving towards more entertainment, as opposed to just gambling, could be a good thing while moving entertainment facilities out of the downtown core made the ‘con list’.
After reviewing the application to rezone the former Rona property on Versatile Drive to allow a casino, staff are standing behind the view it does not fit in with the official community plan. Staff believe even though the trend to move casinos out of city centres and focus on more entertainment is growing there is more need to follow policies that support the downtown area.
Gateway Casinos purchased the property with the intent to move the downtown casino to a larger space that would allow it to develop into a ‘larger, destination-style’ casino with a lounge, restaurants and amphitheatre. The company held public open houses a couple of weeks later to show the community what the plans were and several hundred people showed up to ask questions.
If council decides to move the application forward by sending it to a public hearing and then approving the zoning amendment a number of road improvements, such as adding lanes and a roundabout as well as traffic signals, will have to be made. The Ministry of Transportation has indicated a willingness to allow this to occur in two phases if necessary, though much of it would have to be completed prior to the casino being opened.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014