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Chilliwack gaming centre walls go up

Crews unhook cables from a concrete wall during the tilt-up phase of construction at the new gaming centre on Olds Drive in Chilliwack. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Crews unhook cables from a concrete wall during the tilt-up phase of construction at the new gaming centre on Olds Drive in Chilliwack.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

The walls are going up on the new gaming centre in Chilliwack.

In fact, it should be ready to go early in the first quarter of 2013, said Howard Blank, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.

The Great Canadian spokesman was updating a Chilliwack Rotary club crowd on the status of the Chilliwack project Friday at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn.

"We're excited," said Blank.

They're still not sure if it will be a Chances gaming centre, or if they'll go with a different type of branding.

Construction is underway at the site on Olds Drive near the Chilliwack airport, now that the site preparation is complete. It could take a year to 18 months to complete construction, he said.

The new 28,000 square-foot community gaming facility will feature 150 slot machines, paper and electronic bingo and other games, as well as live acts, licensed dining and community spaces.

The "vibrant" facility will have parking for 300 with a curved driveway near the entrance, wood accents, red carpeting and a water feature inside, he said.

"We know gaming but we don't know Chilliwack," said Blank.

Great Canadian officials spent 10 days going to different dining rooms and restaurants in Chilliwack to survey the scene and provide some ideas for the new gaming centre's 100-seat restaurant and outdoor patio.

Someone from the audience wanted to know if Great Canadian was likely to have a "rival" in the form of a new casino opening anytime soon on nearby First Nations land.

"I don't think so," Blank replied.

A casino applicant has to meet a stringent set of demands, and things are "pretty saturated" in that sense, he said.

The $10 million acquisition of Chilliwack Bingo Association assets last year by Great Canadian, included the property, as well as future "trailing payments" to local charities, "subject to facility performance," he underlined.

Someone in the crowd asked if the publicly traded company's shares paid dividends, and the answer was they do not.

Another audience member asked if the trailing payments would be smaller than what they received the past.

The answer was "no" but those trailing payments, which were part of the sale, are completely separate from the gaming grants received by charities from government, clarified Blank.

Where a staff of 35 works at the existing Chilliwack Bingo Hall, the staff at the new gaming facility will grow to 70 or 75 when it opens, he said.

"So that's 40 new jobs we'll be bringing," he said.

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