Great Canadian Gaming official Chuck Keeling chats at the opening of Chances Chilliwack in November 2012.

Great Canadian Gaming official Chuck Keeling chats at the opening of Chances Chilliwack in November 2012.

Chances gaming centre gets its liquor primary licence

Chilliwack gaming facility wins approval for a liquor primary licence and rezoning amendment a year after opening.

There could be dancing at The Well in Chilliwack Chances before you know it.

About a year after the community gaming facility opened, approval for a liquor primary licence and rezoning text amendment for Chances Chilliwack sailed through city hall, as council voted unanimously in favour.

In fact, not one member of the public had a word to say against the licence or rezoning applications.

It means Chances patrons will now be able to order an alcoholic beverage while playing slots or bingo, in the dining room, as well as in the meeting rooms on the second floor, and the zoning is being adjusted in the OCP to allow for the licensing changes. The vote followed hearings where business people, members of the public, charity representatives, local musicians and the applicant rose to the microphone to offer support for the rezoning and liquor primary licence.

“We were just thrilled by the community support,” said Chuck Keeling of Great Canadian Gaming, after the hearing.

What were they expecting from the evening?

“After what happened in February, we didn’t want to take anything for granted.”

An application from Chilliwack Gaming Ltd./The Well that came forward in February for a permanent change to their licence to add an “entertainment endorsement” failed — again — to get approval from council.

But this time there were more than 30 letters in support.

Several members and a representative from the Knight Road Legacy Association, the charities who once owned Chilliwack Bingo, were publicly supportive at the hearing.

“The better they do, the better we do,” said one speaker from St. John Ambulance, acknowledging that Knight Road members will be business partners with the community gaming centre operation, which will issue trailing payments based on facility future performance levels.

“This is a great opportunity for Chilliwack to open up this facility and allow them to work to their fullest extent and present fantastic entertainment,” said Mike Evans of Go Audio.

The LP also means patrons can interact with performers or get up and dance for example, which they were not permitted under the more restrictive food primary licence. It also means no more kids in the dining room, entering from side entrances.

Councillors acknowledged that gaming officials were well trained and well prepared, and had worked diligently through the steps required of them to get the LP licence approved.

Lum confirmed that the closing time on weekends would be 1 a.m. and not 2 a.m. and he also expressed hope that the Bar Watch issue would be resolved.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz noted how rare it was to have a hearing where there was not a single voice raised in opposition to the licensing and rezoning applications.

“They have been a responsible corporate citizen and will no doubt continue to do the same in the future.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno