Timeline of Correspondence with Paragon Gambling – In Response To Councillors Reimer, Meggs & Jang

In response to false challenges to my veracity by Paragon Gaming, and questions raised by Councillors Reimer, Meggs & Jang following my address to council last Monday, March 14, I have provided the following timeline of correspondence to Mayor and Council.

The correspondence was with Paragon Gambling Corp’s legal counsel George Cadman of Boughton Law Corporation, and their spokesperson, Tamara Hicks, in which I sought a meeting on behalf of the False Creek Residents Association to discuss community concerns regarding Paragon’s proposal to build a mega-casino at BC Place:

Dear Mayor and Council:

1. On October 23 I attended a coffee mtg with Mary McNeil, MLA for our area, which I had helped organize. In my emailed invitation, I asked people to come out and express any concerns about the proposed casino among other issues. Paragon’s spokesman, Tamara Hicks, and their counsel, George Cadman responded to that invitation and attended that coffee. I suggested we should meet to discuss objections to their proposal.

2. On October 29 I sent a followup email to Paragon’s counsel, George Cadman of Boughton Law Corp., requesting a meeting to discuss community objections to their proposal. Despite Paragon’s false claim to the contrary, that email clearly stated my afilliation with the False Creek Residents Association:

From: Sean Bickerton

Subject: Casino Proposal

Date: October 28, 2010 5:44:59 PM PDT

To: George Cadman

Dear George,

I’m on the steering committee of the False Creek Residents Association, which represents approximately 20,000 votes around False Creek. I’m also part of the working group addressing the big development picture for NEFC at city hall chaired by Michael Gordon and attended by all of the developers.

In that letter I raised 6 concerns:

1) No community amenities for an area with very few already.

2) The BC Government has broken the gaming agreement providing a sustainable and guaranteed funding stream for the arts and sports that was used to sell gaming to the voters originally. Without that funding stream you have lost two very valuable and politically useful supporters of gaming in the province. There is now no group aligned with gaming other than the provincial government, not the most popular advocate in the province …

3) The drastic expansion of gaming slots and tables, more than doubling the existing number in this area. (sic – we’ve since learned it will actually triple the number of slot machines.)

4) No provisions to address the projected traffic increase at peak times.

5) No provisions to ameliorate the social impacts of the facility including increased addiction, public drunkenness and organized crime, placing the cost of dealing with those impacts squarely on the local community.

6) Lack of meaningful public consultation or input.

7) Poor design.

Obviously some of these issues are more important than others, but I believe this is a good objective overview of the objections you are facing.

3. On November 3 I received an email from Paragon’s counsel, Mr. Cadman asking for time to respond.

4 On November 5 I received a followup email from Paragon’s counsel, Mr. Cadman, stating:

From: George Cadman

Subject: RE: Casino Proposal

Date: November 5, 2010 6:17:38 PM PDT

To: Sean Bickerton

Cc: Tamara Hicks

Tamara thinks, as do I, that it may be helpful to get together, but I expect it will
need to wait until after my return. Let’s touch base on the 16th or 17th.

5. On November 23 the FCRA voted to oppose the casino expansion as proposed.

6. On December 1, I wrote again to Mr. Cadman, Paragon’s counsel, advising that unfortunately for them, the FCRA had voted to oppose the casino and asking again for a meeting.

7. On December 1 Mr. Cadman, Paragon’s counsel wrote me asking me to hold off on meeting until after 14th.

8. On December 2nd, I wrote Mr. Cadman thanking him for his efforts. That was the last correspondence between us.

9. I also attended the open house held by Paragon at the Roundhouse and spoke publicly about community concerns at that time as well.

Perhaps this will help clarify Mr. Cahill’s confusion on the subject, in reference to his letter of March 14, 2011 to Mayor and council.

As volunteer members of the FCRA, we don’t have business cards or stationary, and perhaps that confused Paragon. But in addition to my email in which I clearly identified my affiliation with the False Creek Residents Association, I also attended Joint Working Group meetings as a designated member of the FCRA Board, and was introduced as such at the start of the 4 or 5 meetings I attended along with members of PAVCO and Paragon; the About page on my Blog clearly lists me as a member of the FCRA steering committee; and most people in this corner of the city are familiar with my involvement in the community.

To reiterate, as the designated member of the FCRA on this issue, I reached out to Paragon on three distinct occasions requesting a meeting with their counsel, several of those emails cc’d to Tamara Hicks, Paragon’s designated spokesperson, and was put off all three times. That is a fact. If a sworn affidavit is necessary to establish the veracity of this timeline, I am fully prepared to provide one.

Sean Bickerton,
Member of the Board of Directors,
False Creek Resident Association