Red Deer city council is taking no stand on whether Jackpot Casino should move into the Cambridge Hotel.
Council voted in favour of a recommendation from administration that the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) be informed that council “neither objects nor supports the possible relocation” of the casino located downtown at 4950 47th Ave.
A city spokesperson said that is in keeping with city council’s policy on gaming applications.
The city has committed to issuing a news release and advertising the proposed move in the Advocate. In its motion, the city said those who want to provide input should contact the AGLC or their local MLA.
However, the AGLC confirmed on Tuesday that the period to provide feedback on the casino move ended May 2. Under AGLC regulations, after O’Chiese issued its public notice to the community about its casino intentions all objections had to be submitted in writing within 21 days, a period that ran April 12 to May 2.
The city said that it did not get notice of the casino relocation request in time to advertise an opportunity for public comment, however, people should contact the AGLC anyway if they want to share their views.
“Though the formal comment period has passed, the city encourages those who wish to share their views on the relocation request to directly contact the AGLC or their local MLA.”
AGLC guidelines for casino relocations require it to notify the municipality to provide it an opportunity to provide input.
“When making the decision as to whether or not to approve this application, AGLC will consider the City of Red Deer’s expressed support or its lack of support for the proposed relocation,” says AGLC in an April 12 letter to the city.
AGLC says it expects to make a decision on the relocation request later this year.
Red Deer’s motion says that council trusts the AGLC will not approve the relocation, or at least that it will not be allowed to start operating, unless a development approval has been issued by the city.
Once the casino’s development permit application is received at the city, a review process will be triggered. Landowners within 100 metres of the Cambridge Hotel will be informed of the proposal and invited to submit comments on it.
“At this time, the proposed casino relocation is not a city issue as no formal request regarding land use or licensing has been submitted by Jackpot Casino,” says the city.
Red Deer’s Jackpot Casino is outgrowing its downtown space and wants to relocate to the Cambridge Hotel to create a casino resort. Both the casino and the hotel are owned by the O’Chiese Band, northwest of Rocky Mountain House.
O’Chiese Gaming Limited Partnership believes the relocation will give the city an economic and tourism boost and raise more money for local charities. Other benefits will spin off from the $11 million in new construction.
Some opposition has already appeared. An opponent to the casino’s move has run advertisements against it, citing various concerns about safety and reduced property values, prompting Jackpot to respond with its own ads.