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Gaming centre a go for 2010

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

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said today that the $7.9-million gaming centre slated for Castlegar is still very much on the books, with Terrim Properties' Terry Segarty spearheading the development.

“He's still a part of the project – he's just bringing in a partner,” said Chernoff, adding that a meeting last week between Segarty, the mayor and senior city staff helped clarify the project's future direction.

“We have very little information at this time ...there's a huge trail of paperwork that has to be dealt with first, before we can start moving forward and releasing more information.

“The important thing is that the project is still proceeding, so we're not losing this opportunity,” he added. “Hopefully, it will be operational by the end of 2010 – it'll be a great Christmas present to the city, if it is.”

Segarty himself said the delay (the centre was slated to be built in 2009) was the result of the global economic crisis, which inspired his bank of 35 years to remove itself from financing commercial real estate ventures.

“That leaves us with two options: to find new lenders or to bring in joint venture partners,” he said. "We're looking forward to seeing it (the project) go out for tender by Jan. 31, with construction set for spring.”

He said he already has a signed Agreement in Principle in place, but the due dilligence required for a project like this is extensive and time-consuming. The Gaming Audits Investigation Branch goes through any potential new partner's application, and the application must then be approved by the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

He said the scope of the project remains unchanged, with an estimated $7.9 million construction cost.

“Once we bring in furniture and equipment and such, it'll be a $7- to $10-million facility,” he said. “The sad part is that there are 60 jobs that could be created right away, that the country and the communtiy could really use, if lenders were in a better position.”

The good news, he went on, is that Castlegar will still benefit from the new jobs and increased economic activity promised by the gaming centre ... just a little later than anticipated.

“We are still looking forward to getting our project off the ground,” he said, adding he'll keep the community posted on new information regarding the project along the way, as specifics are confirmed.