An appeal of a plan to build a new casino at Red Deer’s Cambridge hotel has been dropped and backers of the $11-million project hope to begin construction early next year.
O’Chiese Hospitality Limited Partnership is planning to turn the Cambridge hotel’s large conference centre into a new location for downtown’s Jackpot Casino, owned by the same O’Chiese First Nation group.
As part of the hotel redevelopment, Longriders Saloon and Bellinis Sonic Lounge will be torn down to make way for more parking, said O’Chiese Hospitality’s Georges Yammine on Friday.
City of Red Deer approved a development permit for the casino at the end of August.
An appeal was filed on Sept. 19 by an Edmonton lawyer on behalf of a Red Deer business. The appeal cited issues as inadequate parking, traffic congestion and the potential for an increase in crime, theft and public nuisance.
Yammine said that appeal was recently withdrawn.
“I’m very happy, absolutely, right now,” he said. “We don’t need that obstruction and delay to the whole project and development and job creation and all those good things.”
The next step is to line up a construction permit approved among other necessary approvals. A demolition permit for the two bars is being circulated among city departments and has yet to be approved.
It is hoped construction on the casino, which will be built within the existing conference centre structure, will start within months.
“We don’t have a firm construction date or timeline, but we’d like to start in early January or February if we can if the weather permits.”
The decision to tear down the two bars was made to provide more parking but also reflects a change in the vision for the hotel.
“I don’t think it was feasible anymore to keep them,” he 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,” said the AGLC recently.
Once that process is complete, AGLC can inspect and issue a licence.