Friday, May 27, 2005

: "Coq. councillors weigh in on bingo proposal

By Kate TrotterThe Tri-City News
May 21 2005
Few decisions before Coquitlam council this term have been as contentious as the application to build a $9-million, 754-seat bingo facility near Silver City in south Coquitlam.
The proposal, which will be re-hashed at a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, involves:
* land use - rezoning property in a retail area;
* environment - concerns about the impact on nearby Como Creek;
* social issues - proliferation of gaming;
* leisure issues - many people, especially women and seniors want to play bingo locally.
In its progress through council, the bingo venue proposal has held on by a single vote.
Councillors Mae Reid, Kent Becker, Maxine Wilson and Fin Donnelly have consistently spoken against it (and Donnelly has voted in favour of sending the item to the public for comment) while councillors Louella Hollington, Diane Thorne, Bill LeClair and Barrie Lynch have either supported the proposal or said they would with changes. Coquitlam Mayor Jon Kingsbury has also voted in the affirmative. The five-four balance may shift, however, if the matter comes to council for a vote the following Monday, May 30. Supporter LeClair will be out of town and, if traditional voting patterns are followed, it would be a tie vote, and ties defeat.
At the public hearing, councillors are expected to listen objectively to arguments from the public both for and against. Here is where the more vocal on the issue stand right now:
* Fin Donnelly: He's concerned 'side games' such as electronic pull-tab and Keno are too important to the fiscal health of the operation. 'If the majority of people are saying they are okay with bingo and electronic bingo"
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