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Squamish Nation proposes ‘gaming centre’



Call it a community gaming centre.

That’s the handle Squamish Nation’s Toby Baker uses, and he says it includes none of the vice-ridden card and table games associated with casinos.

Baker, Squamish Nation’s senior operating officer of project negotiation and development, is flushed with enthusiasm as he describes the early stages of an effort to establish a bingo and slot machine facility on Highway 99 and Valley Drive in Squamish.

“What’s happening right now,” he says, “is that (the proposal) will go to the community for consideration and approval at the end of this year — and when I say community that’s the Squamish Nation membership.

“The District of Squamish has been informally advised, and we’re now working through a formal process where we advise them of our intentions and they have an opportunity to comment.”

At the other end of the dialogue is Boardwalk Gaming and Entertainment Inc, a Toronto-based company with facilities in Ontario and British Columbia. According to Baker, the plan calls for a multidimensional facility that includes a restaurant, gift shop and artisan-style co-ops. Employment opportunities generated by the project will go first to members of Squamish Nation.

“This is a proposal that we’re jointly putting forward (to B.C. Lottery Corporation),” said Baker. “Until we have all our ducks in a row, they are not approving anything.”

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