Since inception of the casino the City of Penticton has received a minimum of $22.5 million from casino profits.
Aside from this huge boost to taxpayer finances, the casino draws conventioneers into the downtown area, giving them the opportunity to explore our city and benefit downtown business.
A few years ago the Shriners came to town for a convention. My Shriner brother-in-law and his wife, a Matron of the Ladies of the Eastern Star, stayed at the Sandman Inn. There were quite a few ladies at this convention and they wanted to gamble so they walked down to the casino. It was a beautiful day and they enjoyed their stroll along the lake.
After visiting the casino they topped off their day by shopping in the downtown area. While I don’t know what the other ladies bought, my sister-in-law, living in a small town, took advantage of the opportunity to buy three pairs of shoes from Softy’s.
If the casino moves, the opportunity to spread convention tourist dollars around will likely be lost.
Who orchestrated this proposal to remove the casino into a proposed high-rise hotel beside the convention centre and away from the downtown area?
Is this just a bargaining chip to ensure a new hotel is built regardless of the cost to the Lakeside Resort or downtown area? What other promises have been made and at what cost to business people? Why has the Downtown Penticton Association remained quiet?
What packages have been developed by the DPA, the chamber and wine industry for conventioneers? Shouldn’t we try to entice them to extend their stay for a day or two? We have lots to offer.
If the city is successful with this lopsided agreement I suspect once this hotel is built the conventioneers version of our city will be the airport; Channel Parkway: convention centre and Queen’s Park school.
Pretty dull! Just like hundreds of other cities that have little to offer.
Is that our vision for our fair city?