In Friday’s Tri-Cities News, there was an article about Coquitlam casino revenue dropping. This reminded me of several conversations I had on the campaign trail this past November – should Port Coquitlam actively seek a casino for the city?
The City of Coquitlam earns 10% of the net proceeds from the casino (and I believe the Red Robinson Show Theatre). This means over the last seven years, the City’s take has been nearly $48 million – or the equivalent of the next round of Coast Meridian Overpass coast over runs. (insert laughter – or crying)
Coquitlam uses 12.5% of this money to fund community / non-profit groups and puts the remainder into a fund to finance capital projects (roads, bridges, etc.).
PoCo has lost a number of community groups and sports teams to the neighbouring municipality due to funding opportunities. With PoCo struggling to keep property taxes under 7% the exodus will surely continue.
Is a casino the answer?
I would not have a problem having a casino in PoCo. I would not, however, be a customer. In fact, I believe I have only gambled at a casino twice – once during a stag party in 1990 and the other during a 1993 work team building exercise in Minnesota (interestingly enough, just over the border from Thunder Bay). Such a facility would capture the casino crowd from Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, etc. and bring new revenue into our City.
The only piece of available land would be in the Dominion Triangle. Land which has remained vacant for years. If PoCo’s casino pulled in half of what Coquitlam does, we would see a yearly take of $5 million or roughly 10% of the City’s annual budget.
It is time to consider.