May 14, 2014 - 1:54 PM
KAMLOOPS - Concerns heard from those who attended the open houses for the proposed Aberdeen casino are much in line with what the company was expecting to hear and was already planning to look in to, according to a company spokesperson.
Tanya Gabara, the Director of Public Relations for Gateway Casinos, says attendance has been great and while most people have been supportive of the project they did hear concerns around traffic, noise and transportation.
“The turnout has far exceeded my expectations,” Gabara says of the more than 400 people attending the open houses. “It’s been positive, and they’ve come from all over Kamloops, it hasn’t just been core people or Aberdeen people.
For one of the members of the Aberdeen Neighbourhood Association traffic was by far the biggest concern.
“Turning left from the exit is impossible… traffic from Costco on a Saturday or Sunday is bad,” Helen Newmarch says of her biggest concern.
Gabara explains the peak traffic patterns are quite different from retail, with most traffic occurring Friday and Saturday night after 7 p.m. and a trickle of traffic throughout the day. In explaining why this traffic pattern is so different Gabara also tackles another concern of the association, clientele.
“There’s two distinct demographics — the more senior demographic, they come and have breakfast, know everyone who works here, play a few games, stay and have lunch. That’s what they do, that’s their entertainment,” she says. “Our evening demographic is very much younger, 20 to 45-years-old. They come after work… (or) for the evening entertainment.”
Noise will be addressed in studies, and light will not be any worse than what it is already, she notes, adding safety will not be an issue just because a casino is in the neighbourhood either.
“There are studies that prove casinos coming into neighbourhoods don’t increase crime, they actually reduce it,” Gabara says, “We have the best security and surveillance, better than a bank, and it goes beyond the building out into our lot and the surrounding area.”
The casino project, which will include three food and beverage outlets, an outdoor ampitheatre and gaming floor in the 50,000 square foot complex, is expected to go to public hearing in July with a planned construction start date of September 2014 and an open date of fall 2015.
The company began looking at the former Rona location on Versatile Drive because the current lease does not allow for any growth.
“It’s a 16,000 square foot box encompassed by a hotel,” Gabara notes. “There’s no more options to make it anything more than what it is.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014