Should the Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. proposed casino complex in Ladner receive approval, the new facility would be eligible for special city tax breaks.
According to the planning department, the rezoning application for the entertainment complex is within an economic investment incentive zone established by the Delta Industrial and Tourism Revitalization Tax Exemption Program. It’s a rather wide zone that covers a substantial swath of Delta. That means the project would be eligible for a municipal tax exemption for up to five years as well as a reduction of up to 60 percent for building permit fees, plumbing permit fees and land use application fees.
A report to council notes property taxes would be “frozen” at the 2018 level of $157,000 for five years. The benefit to the developer will depend on timing and duration of construction. The maximum property tax benefit to the developer once the construction is complete would be approximately $450,000.
The savings in municipal permit fees is approximately $265,000.
“It is important to note that the property tax exemption does not represent a financial cost to Delta – it is forgone revenue that is anticipated to be offset significantly by the future property taxes generated as a result of the new entertainment complex. All economic incentives are discretionary and subject to Council approval,” the planning department explains.
According to Gateway, the $70 million facility that would be built at the Delta Town & Country Inn site has Delta and west Surrey identified as the primary customer base, although there’s also tourism opportunities, with $45 million to $55 million in projected revenue annually. The city would receive a 10 per cent share of the net income that goes to the province, which BCLC estimates would work out to about $2.5 to $3 million for Delta.
If approved, construction would commence this fall. A grand opening of the yet to be named complex at the junction of highways 17A and 99 would take place in 2020.
Having 500 slot machines and a variety of gaming tables, the complex, in addition to having a 116-room hotel, would also include restaurants and meeting spaces.
In the Greater Vancouver area, Gateway currently operates three casinos consisting of over 2,600 slot machines, almost 120 table games and almost 20 poker tables. The company also has several gaming facilities in the Thompson-Okanagan region, as well as operations elsewhere in the country. The company has embarked an ambitious expansion program.
Delta also has a Revitalization Tax Exemption Program which is intended to encourage accelerated private sector investment in commercial and retail mixed-use renewal projects to promote Tsawwassen and Ladner as commercial and retail destinations, consistent with the South Delta Business Sustainability Strategy.
A public hearing on the proposed casino takes place May 1 at the Ladner Community Centre.