A development permit to move Jackpot Casino to Red Deer’s Cambridge Hotel has been appealed by a nearby business.
City of Red Deer issued a development permit for a casino at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel and Conference Centre on Aug. 30. Property owners within 100 metres of the hotel property were notified of the application.
On Sept. 19, Edmonton lawyer Janice Agrios filed an appeal on behalf of Cool Smiles Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics.
In a statement Friday morning, a representative from Cool Smiles Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics issued a statement indicating they had not filed the appeal.
“The law firm reached out to our business to discuss possible concerns, but at no point did the business owner request or approve an appeal being submitted on their behalf. We learned of the official appeal yesterday,” read the email statement.
“We are currently looking into this situation, and will address it with the appropriate parties. “
Jackpot Casino and the Cambridge Hotel are owned by the O’Chiese Band, northwest of Rocky Mountain House, which runs O’Chiese Gaming Limited Partnership. It has also applied to the city for a demolition permit for Longriders Saloon and the adjacent Bellinis Sonic Lounge.
Jackpot Casino seeks to leave downtown
The development permit appeal says parking on the hotel site is inadequate to accommodate existing uses at the site.
“The additional parking demand generated by the proposed development will result in spillover parking onto surrounding properties and streets.
“Additional traffic trying to access the site will increase congestion on already very busy streets,” says the appeal.
It also says there has been no consultation process with area businesses and residents. As well, no information has been provided on the casino’s proposed design and whether it is consistent with area development standards, the appeal says.
“There are existing issues related to crime, theft and public nuisance associated with this site. Adding a casino use to this site will aggravate the already existing issues.”
A preliminary subdivision and development appeal board hearing was held on Tuesday in order to meet regulations requiring the appeal be heard within 30 days, said city inspections and licensing manager Erin Stuart. Those involved were not ready to go ahead with the hearing so that has been adjourned until Nov. 14 in city council chambers following public notification of the hearing, which is open to the public.
Following the hearing, the five-person appeal board has 15 days to release its decision. The appeal board is comprised of community citizens.
The demolition permit for the two nightclubs is still being reviewed by city staff, said Stuart.
O’Chiese Gaming Limited Partnership has been considering moving the casino since the hotel was purchased in 2017.
The casino is outgrowing its downtown location at Ross Street and 47th Avenue and needs more parking, said casino CEO Georges Yammine in an interview in April.
Yammine said besides $11 million in new construction, the casino move provides an economic boost to the community with more money raised for local charities, additional concerts, new jobs and additional tax revenue for the city.
Yammine or other O’Chiese representatives could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
The O’Chiese Band applied to the city on Oct. 4 for a demolition permit for Longriders Saloon and the adjacent Bellinis Sonic Lounge.
“An application has been submitted to demolish the two drinking establishments, just to demolish, no construction in its place at this time,” Stuart said.
In July, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis approved the casino relocation application proceeding to Step 3 of the process.
“Step 3 requires the casino operator to adhere to all municipal regulations and licensing requirements, in addition to federal and provincial legislation,” says AGLC communications manager Karin Campbell in an email.
Once that process is complete, AGLC may inspect and issue a licence, says Campbell.
Red Deer city council has taken no stand on whether the casino should move into the hotel.
Council voted in favour of a recommendation from administration that the AGLC be informed that council “neither objects nor supports the possible relocation” of the casino, which is in keeping with previous council policy.
An opponent to the casino’s move has run advertisements against it, citing various concerns about safety and reduced property values.
This story has been updated to reflect additional comment from Cool Smiles Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics.