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Province pressed for casino reopening plan

The City of Fort St. John is once again pressing Premier John Horgan for answers on the province's plan to reopen casinos, and inviting him for a virtual tour.
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At Chances Fort St. John, gambling revenues totalled $16.6 million in 2017-18.

The City of Fort St. John is once again pressing Premier John Horgan for answers on the province's plan to reopen casinos, and inviting him for a virtual tour.

Casinos have been closed since March 16, 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting 125 people in Fort St. John.

In a Feb. 17 letter to Premier John Horgan, Mayor Lori Ackerman says the prolonged closure is having a continued and lasting impact on families and communities.

“While this carries on, we have residents who have now gone online and most likely online overseas for this activity. What does that do in our community?” Ackerman wrote, noting both a loss of income for families and to municipalities who rely on gaming revenues, as well as a lack of support for those with gambling addictions.

The casino closure has cut city revenues — down from $895,023 in 2018-19 to effectively zero over the last year.

Ackerman invited the premier for a virtual tour of the casino to show him what it has been done to ensure safety.

“There is no request for any special treatment; we wish to reiterate what we said in our previous letter, we understand that safety is the number one priority. The casino has gone above and beyond other enterprises to ensure this,” Ackerman wrote.

“Workers and their families deserve to know what the Province is doing to get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible.”

Read the letter to Horgan below:

City of Fort St. John - Letter to Premier Horgan- Timeline of Casino Opening by AlaskaHighwayNews on Scribd

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.