Casino plan has slightly more opposition within city: poll

While Metro Vancouver residents are almost evenly split over a proposed expansion of the Edgewater Casino, 53 per cent of city residents are against the plan, says an Ipsos Reid poll.

Supporters and opponents of Paragon Gaming’s $500-million casino-hotel development next to B.C. Place stadium were claiming a win Thursday.

“I would take Metro to the bank,” joked Warren Buckley, president and CEO of PavCo, which runs B.C. Place Stadium. “That’s pretty good. We are pretty happy with that.”

Buckley said there has been a lot of “misinformation” about the scale of the project.

Sandy Garossino, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Not Vegas! Coalition, said the latest poll is in line with other polls that showed Vancouver residents against the project.

“While it’s split in Metro, when you look at only the Vancouver number it’s 53 per cent opposed to 43 per cent in favour,” she said. “In the city, support for casino expansion never gets closer than 10 per cent. It reinforces what we know, which is that the majority of Vancouverites are against the expansion.”

The Ipsos Reid poll showed that 48 per cent of Metro residents supported the planned expansion, compared to 46 against.

In the city, however, 53 per cent were opposed, with 43 per cent in favour.

While 64 per cent of Metro residents agreed the project would provide significant economic benefits, 60 per cent also said the new gambling facility would result in significant social costs to the region.

In the city, 59 per cent of residents thought there would be economic benefits and 67 per cent felt there would be significant social costs.

The poll of 900 Metro residents included 250 from Vancouver, said Kyle Braid, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs.

He said said the Metro figures have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The Vancouver results had a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

“It’s not unusual to see a project like this have divided opinion,” said Braid. “It’s pretty obvious that the public sees both the economic benefits and the potential social costs to the project. To most people it comes down to weighing those two things and whichever one you think is greater is probably how you’re going to come down.”

Vancouver city council is holding hearings on the project on Apr. 9 and 10.

The lease for the existing Edgewater Casino expires in 2013.

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