As president of the Abbotsford Bingo Association, I would like to express my disappointment with the Abbotsford City Council meeting of Jan. 23.
Council rejected a staff report favouring giving first reading to an application to allow the B.C. Lottery Corporation to increase the number of gaming machines within the Community Gaming Centre.
The reasons for the rejections ranged from religion, to addicting concerns, to a mistaken belief that allowing additional machines would preclude Abbotsford from obtaining a casino.
I am in possession of a letter from BCLC, as is the city, which clearly states that there is no demand for a full casino in Abbotsford and also there are no existing plans to build one.
This short-sighted decision, based in part on false information, precludes the charities involved from increasing their revenues, thereby limiting the services they are able to provide to the community. It also precludes the city from increasing the host government revenue received from the facility, which is one of it’s primary non-property tax revenue sources.
It also shows a lack of regard for the needs of the charities and the services they could have provided through this funding source, and for the input of the community, which might have been heard if this had properly been sent to a public hearing.
However, staff’s report favouring giving a first reading for a primary liquor licence was passed.
I am pleased to report that a public hearing will be held on Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Abbotsford is the only Community Gaming Centre in the entire province that serves no alcohol.
Please support us at the public hearing.