A gaming centre planned for Salmon Arm has been delayed but is still in the works.
Although construction was initially set to begin in October 2013, lease arrangements have pushed back the expected construction date to April of this year.
The Adams Lake band is leasing the property – the former home of the GM dealership at 10th Street SW and the Trans-Canada Highway – to the Berezan Group, which will build and operate the 26,000-sq.ft. Chances Salmon Arm.
Adams Lake Band Chief Nelson Leon explains that the lease term is changing, so the band must hold a referendum to accommodate the change.
“We’re happy to say we have entered into an agreement to sign a lease, pending a referendum, from annual to prepaid.”
He said the initial plan was for a 49-year lease paid as an annual rent. The Berezan Group has since requested a 49-year prepaid lease.
An information meeting for band members will be held on March 12 in Chase, as well as in Vancouver for band members there. The referendum vote will take place on March 13.
“They’re targeting for construction to start in April,” Leon said, adding that, although an annual rent was the council’s preferred option, the new term would hold advantages for both the band and the developer.
“For the band, a prepaid lease allows us an influx of revenue so we could capitalize major projects – the resources are available to the band immediately. It allows the developer to have certainty on the expense side, in terms of doing business planning.”
About a dozen Chances gaming centres are already operating in B.C., including ones in Kamloops and Kelowna.
They offer slots, bingo and dining, but not table games such as blackjack or poker with live dealers.
At an open house in June of last year, the Berezan Group, which will be responsible for all operational requirements of Chances Salmon Arm, stated in its promotional material that it “will create high-quality local jobs, both during construction and operation. Berezan will be involved in the wider Salmon Arm community, including hiring local trades and First Nations.”
BC Lottery Corporation representatives, who also attended the open house, stated that the corporation’s marketplace assessment indicated there is demand to support a gaming centre in Salmon Arm.