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Temple to misery, greed

One of the best pieces of real estate left in all Vancouver is the area along False Creek between B.C. Place and Science World.

One of the best pieces of real estate left in all Vancouver is the area along False Creek between B.C. Place and Science World.

It’s in the heart of the heart of the city. For some time, it was earmarked as the new home of the Vancouver Art Gallery, but it’s apparently not suitable.

It is suitable, also apparently, for a giant casino complex run by an outfit from Vegas Baby, the same people who brought you Circus Circus.

There was a time when Steve Wynn, the Donald Trump of Las Vegas, was nearly run out of town for proposing a similar deal along the Coal Harbour waterfront. But that was then, and now, apparently, we’re ready for Vegas in Vancouver.

I keep using the word “apparently” because the various players are not ready for the big reveal, but they’re floating so many trial balloons you’d think it was a parade.

So this is how the province is going to pay for the half-billion-dollar roof for B.C. Place? With a casino?

Do I have to say this is a really bad idea? And does it really matter what I think — or you think — for that matter, as the province and its new Vegas partner have already (apparently again) signed a deal? The city also has nothing to say about it, as it is provincial land.

It looks as if, whether we want it or not, a temple to greed and misery will be erected at the very heart of this great city of ours. If you don’t believe that’s what they are, I suggest you tour one of the many so-called destination casinos that already clog the Lower Mainland landscape. Watch in amazement as people, gripped by some inexplicable compulsion, furiously throw their money at the slots or the card tables, taking a break only to hoover unhealthy food at the buffet.

Is this some kind of Olympic legacy? Is this what being Fun City means? Is this what we want in the heart of False Creek?

We’re losing — or we’ve already lost — our way. We’re up False Creek without a paddle.

Instead of a major cultural institution to go with Science World as the centrepiece of a magnificent public space, our potential Trafalgar Square, we’ll have craps tables and overpriced fast food.

Forever. Or close to it.

Sixteen years ago, Mike Harcourt was the premier who took a stand against Vegas North. We might have to ask him to climb back on his charger because there’s no one left in Victoria — apparently — who gives a damn.