Martha, the walls are up. Where's the kids' college money?
At long last, the proposed gambling casino on the Lougheed Highway at 227th Street is taking shape, and Maple Ridge is scheduled to become Vegas North.
Will it be long before Celine Dion and Anne Murray are booked into the arts centre to entertain the tourists that flock to this town to gamble?
I don't gamble myself, not in the popular sense anyway. I don't play cards or the slot machines or bet on horses or other sporting events. It's just too stressful, all that excitement when you win, followed by the inevitable disappointment of losing. I restrict myself to the occasional lottery ticket.
My gambling is more of the lifestyle variety: I eat foods that aren't good for me and drink too much, I cross the Lougheed Highway in the middle of the street, I shake hands and hug and don't wipe down the door handles when I enter a room. I've engaged in unprotected sex, I've voted for the NDP, I've ridden a bike without a helmet, sat down in a portable toilet, travelled to Mexico, etc.
So, the appearance of a casino doesn't bother me. Unless you factor in the social costs and whether or not my taxes will end up paying for them. More than one study has cited increased crime, lost work time, bankruptcies, and other financial hardships, child abuse, and domestic violence as among some of the problems that casinos drag along in their wake.
These costs invariably are higher than the actual benefits to the community, especially when the clientele are local and from the poorer economic groups. Gambling has been described as an addictive and destructive behaviour and bad government policy.
I am sure Ernie et al took all this into consideration when they gave the go-ahead for the casino - if it indeed was Mayor Daykin and not one of his predecessors - assuming that the increase in jobs and tax revenue would be worth it in the long run.
All water under the bridge now. The best we can do is tell potential gamblers to go home after the grocery money is lost and give them the phone number of Gamblers Anonymous. Or acquire a taste for pet food.
Someone must have weighed the odds of making a turnoff the Lougheed Highway onto River Road in Whonnock, because wouldn't you know it, we've got a new traffic light out here in the hinterlands. And don't think the locals weren't excited about it: a couple hundred people turned out to witness the official "Switching On" ceremony last weekend, and as it turned out, the first "running of the red light" by a motorist who was pulled over by the police and issued a warning.
This will happen until everyone is used to the presence of the new signal at this notoriously risky intersection. Rumour has it that the Whonnockians were simply jealous of the traffic light in Ruskin at 280th Street that has been in place for some time now. I'm assuming it won't be long before Thornhill is lobbying for a light, and before you know it, our trip to town has increased by 10 minutes.
And now the sports: I'm in love with Jennifer Jones. It's that time of the year again when curling at the national level starts to get serious with the men's and women's championships. And it's time for my annual crush on Jennifer - arguably Canada's best female curler - not to mention the fact she's is blonde and beautiful and a lawyer to boot. Unfortunately, she's committed to another curler, the father of her child, and is not answering any of my fan mail. So I have to make do with TV time and hope Jenny comes to her senses and drops that loser.
See, hockey players aren't the only ones with their obsessions.
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