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Backlash prompted casino appeal withdrawal: city

Casino backers hope to start renovations at Cambridge Hotel early next year

The withdrawal of an appeal related to a proposal to install a casino in Red Deer’s Cambridge Hotel was withdrawn because of backlash, says the City of Red Deer.

An appeal was filed in September of a development permit granted to allow O’Chiese Hospitality Limited Partnership move the downtown Jackpot Casino to the conference centre at the west side of the hotel at 3310 50th Ave.

The appeal cited a lack of adequate parking, increased traffic congestion and a possible impact on nuisance and crime levels as reasons for the opposition. A hearing date had been set for Nov. 14 to hear the appeal, which was filed by Edmonton lawyer Janice Agrios on behalf of the owner of Cool Smiles Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics.

However, the appeal was withdrawn on Oct. 24, confirmed Erin Stuart, the city’s inspections and licensing manager.

“I understand that it was because of significant backlash that they had received, I’m assuming from the community,” said Stuart on Monday.


Jackpot Casino seeks to leave downtown

The withdrawal means the development permit approved on Aug. 30 has now been issued and O’Chiese can go ahead applying for necessary building, safety and electrical permits.

“Prior to doing any construction, they would have to have those permits in place. The last pieces of their approvals from the city would involve their business licence,” she said.

Casino representative Georges Yammine said last Friday if all goes well and the weather cooperates they hope to begin renovating the conference centre in January or February next year.

A floor plan provided to the city shows that the 33,000-square-foot casino will have nearly 550 gaming and bar and lounge seats for customers enjoying hundreds of slots and VLTs or trying their luck at numerous gaming tables. A VIP area, high-stakes poker room and commercial kitchen are also proposed. A GameSense Info Centre, interactive kiosks to help people learn the ins and outs of gambling are also included.

The casino backers have also applied to demolish Longriders Saloon and Bellinis Sonic Lounge to make way for more parking at the site.

Stuart said that application is undergoing a review and is expected to be finished early next week. Since the demolition is a permitted use, the application did not have to be advertised or circulated to neighbours.

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