It’s doubtful that a major project could be constructed in Penticton (or anywhere else) without somebody finding something to complain about.
In the case of the newly announced Cascades Casino — a new name and location for the Lakecity Casino — parking is the first issue. True, the casino building, which will be constructed between the Visitor Information Centre and the Curling Club, will take up a large amount of the parking that both operations no doubt regard as their own.
That, however, is the only real issue with the location of the casino, which the benefits it brings far outweigh, starting with the fact the casino is staying inside the city limits.
That, in itself, means about $1.6 million a year to the city as host community. Then there are the benefits from the increased scope of the operation. No longer just a gaming destination, Gateway Casinos estimates it will create 150 new jobs as they expand into a larger scale food operation and entertainment, along with enhancing the gaming in the casino.
All together, that will hopefully make the casino a bigger draw, enticing more visitors to the community.
With all that going on, it’s not hard to see why City Hall was bending over backward to entice Gateway to stay local.
There are many other places the casino could have been placed, but none would have come without advantages and disadvantages. In this location, at least, the casino is unlikely to have any more of an effect on the surrounding neighbourhood than the present operations at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the arenas or the Trade and Convention Centre.
On the positive side, the addition of the casino and the other activities is sure to make the SOEC campus that much more of an entertainment destination.