In this crazy game of life one simply can't make it to the end without having at least a couple of addictions. Caffeine, video games, alcohol, adrenaline, gambling.the list is truly endless. It would appear that Squamish is addicted to many things, not least of which is bad locations for controversial development proposals, the newest being the bingo barn.
Make no mistake, this B.C. Lottery Corporation bingo project is not about fitting into the future vision of Squamish or a desire to make our community better. This bingo barn is all about money.
Funny enough, it's all about our money. You see, at this moment in time, B.C. is faced with the largest debt in its history. Gordon Campbell's Liberals have not only created the largest debt, but their projection for growth continues to slip into never-before-seen levels. Since selling off all our assets takes time, money has to come from somewhere. Hence their plan to increase gambling revenue by at least 100 per cent.
This brings us to the first public meeting Monday, which was, well, a bit of a joke. The room was filled to capacity, only because we were stuffed into a closet guaranteeing to leave people standing in the hall. Then, like all public meetings, came the parade of pretty pictures. Key points hammered home was that 25 jobs will be created. Quick math discovered that these people will be earning well below the poverty level but there are many positions available from janitor right up to concession staff. They also repeated over and over again that this is not a gambling hall or a bingo barn, it's an "entertainment facility".
As for charities, well this is where it gets tricky. Select charities will be eligible for a pittance, however many groups will find the autocratic red tape impossible to pass. Like I said, all they care about is money.
Sure the Legion, Elks Hall, and Totem Hall have bingo with the proceeds going to local charities, but it's about more than just money, it's about meeting your friends at "the hall" for a good time. Friends are what gives the hall its character and its lifeblood, and that's what this entertaining bingo barn facility will take away. Although they pointed out that "our intention is not to shut down all the other bingos in town." I suppose that part is just business.
Of course like with any development in town, questions were raised about the infamous Irly Bird location at the end of Cleveland avenue. Once again it was pointed out that BC Rail owns the land and we'll all be dead in the cold, cold ground before they ever do anything to help our community move forward.
So it stands, there are a few more hoops to jump through before the future look and feel of Squamish is given a 15-year lease. Unless people raise a stink at the next public meeting, Vegas odds have the future of Squamish welcoming visitors from around the world with a big ol' B-I-N-G-O.