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Gaming centre construction to begin this month

Photo: artist's rendering of the proposed new gaming centre, courtesy the City of Castlegar.

The more-than-$6.5-million gaming centre project slated for Castlegar will finally see ground-breaking this month, with a new stakeholder on board.

According to Terrim Properties' Terry Segarty, the project has been stalled out for more than a year due to financing issues.

“The delay has been because of the reluctance of the bank to fund any project in Western Canada – it's very, very difficult to get financing for any project,” Segarty said, explaining he instead went shopping for a partner to construct the building for the gaming centre, which Terrim Properties will then lease, eliminating the need to get construction funding from the bank.

He said the project has been scaled back from the original $7.9-million price tag.

“We've trimmed our costs, had architects go over (our plans) with a fine-toothed comb,” he said.

The new partner overseeing the construction will be Langley-based Berezan Management Ltd.

“We're working hard to make (this project) a reality,” said Ralph Berezan, adding his company has ample experience constructing office, retail and industrial spaces, but a gaming centre will be a new addition to the Berezan portfolio. “This is a new venture for us.”

“Hopefully, a year from now, the building will be there and the doors will be open.”

Berezan associate Babu Kadiyala will be overseeing the contruction, beginning with a meeting with City of Castlegar staff next week to secure a building permit.

If all goes according to plan, construction can then begin before month's end, with an anticipated completion in May or June 2011.

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said he's enthusiastic about the potential of the project, but the long delays have been frustrating.

“I really want to see the equipment in there, digging the first hole, before I get too excited,” he said.

The gaming centre is expected to create 60 new jobs in the community.