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Casino hotel to shrink by a floor

A rendering of the new hotel and convention centre, as proposed last year. - IMAGE SUBMITTED
A rendering of the new hotel and convention centre, as proposed last year.
— image credit: IMAGE SUBMITTED

A hotel and convention centre set for Coquitlam's Boulevard Casino will be one floor shorter than planned.

This week, Coquitlam city council voted 8-1 to rezone the land at 2080 United Blvd. for the new hotel, which was proposed last year to be 11 storeys tall with 181 rooms.

According to city documents, Great Canadian Casino now intends to build a 10-storey hotel with 176 rooms adjacent to the current casino and Red Robinson Show Theatre; no expansion is planned for the casino floor.

GCC spokesperson Howard Blank said on Wednesday that final design changes are typical for large-scale construction projects. He was unable to say when shovels would be in the ground. "Right now, we're focused on re-branding the casino. It's been more than 10 years since we opened it," he said.

At Monday's meeting, Coun. Craig Hodge said the new venue will create more jobs (approximately 200); add more overnight accommodation; and expand the city's tax base (last year, it generated $1.4 million in property taxes — the third highest in the city).

As well as municipal taxes, under provincial legislation, the company hands over 10% of its net profits to cities where casinos are located. Since the Boulevard Casino opened in 2002, Coquitlam has collected nearly $90 million through the Ministry of Solicitor General; the city puts 12.5% of that money into a fund for local non-profit groups, with the remainder spent on major capital works.

"It's something that Coquitlam needs," Mayor Richard Stewart said of the new hotel/convention centre.

But Coun. Neal Nicholson opposed the bid, saying he's not in favour of supporting anything that contributes to gambling in the community.

At a public hearing last October, Ron Little, the co-owner of the Best Western Coquitlam Inn Convention Centre, voiced his concern over possible competition with the casino hotel.

jwarren@tricitynews.com

 

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