News » Whistler


Public gets say on VLT bylaw Dec. 19 A public hearing will be held Dec. 19 on a zoning amendment bylaw which proposes to prohibit all forms of gambling, including video lottery terminal gambling and off-track betting, within the municipality. "We are not opposed to gambling in Whistler," Mayor Ted Nebbeling said at a special council meeting Monday. "We are opposed to the provincial government pushing lottery machines on communities before the communities have decided whether they want them or not." Whistler council intends to put the matter of video lottery terminals to residents in the form of a referendum at the time of the next municipal election, in 1996. However, with the province poised to ship video lottery terminals to bars and lounges across the province, council took steps to enact bylaws prohibiting VLTs until the time of the referendum. Nebbeling said following the special meeting that council doesn't want to take opportunities away from local bars, but a number of studies have identified Whistler as the first place in the province casino-style gambling would spring up if gambling is legalized. He said he is afraid video lottery terminals would push gambling on Whistler before the community has a chance to have a say in the matter. However, Nebbeling made clear his own feelings when he called video lottery terminals "one-armed bandits with an electronic chip." He said there is lots of evidence elsewhere that VDTs contribute to social problems. Under the bylaw given first two readings Monday, charitable gaming activities would be allowed within the municipality, but only in the conference centre. They would also be limited to no more than 12 days a year. On Wednesday a business regulation bylaw was adopted to prohibit the installation of any video lottery terminals prior to the adoption of the zoning amendment bylaw.