Reserve land in Surrey, Vancouver along with the North Shore could be prime possible websites for any new aboriginal-owned casino inside the Lower Mainland, based on Sto:lo Grand Chief Joe Hall, who heads the very first Nations Gaming Initiative spearheading the idea.
Hall stated the Semiahmoo Very first Nation reserve east in the White Rock waterfront will be ideal.
“It could be a prime location,” he mentioned. “Because from the population along with the place and because of the American targeted traffic along with the visitors from the Island that goes east.”
Hall said the Semiahmoo band has viewed as constructing a hotel/conference centre that might also host a casino, but approval of a proposed 600-slot casino nearby in South Surrey would torpedo the band’s probabilities.
“I understood they were pursuing that but there was no consultation with their community at all. So they had been fundamentally shut out.”
One more selection may possibly be Katzie Initially Nation land close to Fort Langley, Hall stated.
The South Surrey casino/convention centre proposed by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment is just the newest irritant for aboriginal leaders, who have for years asked the province for any two to three per cent share in the $1.1 billion in annual profits B.C. reaps from gambling.
Hall said the Sto:lo are unhappy they’ll get no benefit from a newly opened community gaming centre with slot machines in Chilliwack that replaces an old bingo hall.
Comparable mini-casinos have also sprung up in recent years in Abbotsford, Mission and Langley without having contributing to community 1st Nations, he noted.
“The a single in Chilliwack is extremely disturbing because it is built on former reserve land that made use of to belong to the Ch’ihl’kway’uhk folks.”
He expects B.C. native groups will must observe the lead of these in other provinces and open casinos in defiance with the law and battle the government in court for either the energy to operate or to get a share of existing revenues.
“We’ve attempted to undergo the front door, but enough’s enough,” Hall said.
He accused the province of “racing” to add new casinos ahead of Very first Nations.
“There will not be any marketplace left for First Nations,” Hall mentioned. “That’s why we have to escalate our efforts right here to move forward.”
Vancouver-area bands control land in Point Grey and on southwest False Creek.
The North Shore has previously been flagged through the B.C. Lottery Corp. because the most populous a part of B.C. nonetheless not served by casino facilities.
Hall agreed attainable sites there could range from Tsleil Waututh reserves in North Vancouver for the Squamish Nation’s Park Royal Mall web-site in West Vancouver.
A Nov. 9 letter from Hall and the Very first Nations Gaming Initiative to Premier Christy Clark accuses the government of “deliberate and systematic exclusion” of Very first Nations from gambling revenue and outlined their new method.
It warns aboriginal groups in B.C. will take into account legal challenges to new casino tasks, will be more publicly vocal in opposing them and make the government’s “discriminatory practices” an election problem this spring.
Hall stated the next methods might be for B.C. aboriginal leaders using the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, Assembly of Initially Nations and Initial Nations Summit to jointly agree to form an aboriginal gaming commission for B.C. to regulate native casino development and name an advisory council of professionals in Initial Nations gaming from elsewhere in Canada.
Revenue from a casino will be shared with all 1st Nations in B.C., he said, adding the host band would get a bigger share.
“We’re performing this in a quite careful, structured manner,” he said.
Gambling income could offset the impacts on bands from government cuts and maybe buy medical equipment or upgrade needed infrastructure.
Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for gaming, was unavailable for comment.
But a ministry spokesperson said Initial Nations can host casinos or community gaming centres on reserve and get precisely the same 10 per cent share of income as a hosting municipality.
Three Initial Nations host gaming facilities and received a combined $2 million final year from neighborhood gaming centres in Squamish and Cowichan and the Casino in the Rockies run through the Ktunuxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council in the Kootenays.