Agreement reached for Pt. Molate development

October 20, 2010 10:27:07 PM PDT
The Guidiville Tribe reached an agreement today with local environmental groups in its proposed development of a $1 billion Las Vegas style resort and casino at Pt. Molate along the Richmond shoreline.

The agreement resolves a lawsuit filed by Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP) and other green groups. It includes $35 million for shoreland acquisition, habitat restoration and funding to protect native wildlife populations.

"We believe this is the first step in the creation of the greatest system of regional parks in the history of this country," Guidiville Tribe CEO Michael Derry said.

The massive development includes building 1,100 hotel rooms, a 4,000 slot machine casino and retail malls on a former Navy supply depot. The project has run into opposition from citizen groups who say it would attract society's ills, such as gambling, addiction and crime.

The project received support from organized labor groups like the Building Trades Council, which say the casino resort may create 17,000 jobs.

"We have officially signed the project labor agreement in place thats going to benefit local residents in Richmond and Contra Costa County," Building Trades Council CEO Greg Feere said.

A vocal opponent is Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin who says there are no guarantees the jobs are there since casinos all over the country are hurting due to the economic downturn. The Mayor and opposition groups want "a more healthy" choice for developing the shoreline.

"A casino will only bring more poverty, more crime, more addiction; basically more misery for our hardworking families," she said.

The project still needs approval from the Richmond City Council as well as the federal government.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voiced her opposition to the project and said it's wrong for the East Bay shoreline.