Editorial: Casino a conflict of interest

The City of Terrace's part in the prospect development of a new casino is a huge conflict of interest

In many places, the City of Terrace’s involvement in the complicated plan to build a hotel/casino/conference centre might be called a conflict of interest. To recap:

1. Pomeroy Lodging has chosen the former Terrace Co-op property as its preferred location for the above development.

2. That land is owned by the city, but it already has a sales agreement with another hotel company.

3. Pomeroy is quite clear its development hinges on increasing the number of slot machines it already operates at its Chance facility here and adding other gaming.

4. Any gaming expansion must be approved by the city.

And that’s where the conflict comes in. If the city is to benefit from any sale of the land it must first deal with the existing sales agreement and then, should that work out in Pomeroy’s favour, approve of increased gambling in order for Pomeroy to follow through.

There’s a lot riding on this – jobs, increased economic activity, taxes to the province and the city, contributions to local community groups, a use for a now barren piece of land.

Someplace in all this, however, is the matter of how the taxpayer is to be represented and protected.

Is whatever deal the city can strike to be the best possible?

It’s a question the city cannot answer, but it is one which the city should turn over to an independent audit to determine.