Casino project holds open house

The public got their first chance to see the plans and have their say in the $25-million project to relocate the Gateway Casino.

Gateway Casino's executive general manager Jerry Pokorny

Gateway Casino's executive general manager Jerry Pokorny

The public got their first chance to see the plans and have their say in the $25-million project to relocate the Gateway Casino.

The open house at the Seniors’ Drop-in Centre on Nov. 30 was the first of three open houses with the next sessions taking place Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.

Gateway staff were on hand to guide members of the public through the plans for the 45,000-square foot entertainment complex called Cascades Casino Penticton, which will be located adjacent to the South Okanagan Entertainment Centre.

Parking was a theme when it came to public input.

Ron Hyndman and his wife came out because they were concerned about parking, especially relating to the Penticton Curling Club.

“Parking overall there is the concern,” Hyndman, a curling club member, said. “(My question) was sort of answered because they said they are proposing to possibly make an entrance, if the curling club wants it, on the west side.”

“As long as there’s a door there and it’s accessible it’s fine,” Hyndman said.

Leon Rumpf, president of the Vintage Car Club of the South Okanagan who host their swap meet annually at the Penticton Curling Club parking lot, came to the open house to find out what would happen with the event, currently scheduled for April 30, 2016.

“We were concerned about how this building’s construction is going to affect our operation there for the weekend,” Rumpf said.

“We know where they are going to put the building now and we know there is going to be access for us. It’s just a matter that there is always a problem with parking at these events. We are just going to have to live with it and get through it while they are doing the construction anyways,” Rumpf said.

“We kind of live from year to year. We’ll get through this year and see what happens.”

Public consultation, whether in person or online through the City of Penticton’s website, is an important part of any major project in a community, according to Tanya Gabara, director of public relations for Gateway.

“I think it’s really important to introduce the project to the community and find out any feedback or concerns they have to having the gaming relocated,” Gabara said.

“This is our first open house, so it’s the first time we’ve been able to present it this way. Through the forum and through the city we have started to have some feedback. Generally it has been positive, there are always some questions when you introduce a new project no matter what it is,” Gabara said.

The next open house will take place Dec. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ramada Inn.