Are City Councils In Sync With Constituencies In Regard To Gaming Locations?

Published: February 27, 2013 06:00 pm EST

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne stood in the Legislature earlier this week and firmly said that municipalities would decide whether or not they would want to be part of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s controversial gaming modernization plan. City Councils are set up to be the voice and the representation of their jurisdiction’s constituency. In regard to the city of Kingston and Sudbury, is City Council reflecting public sentiment regarding OLG modernization?

A report by The Sudbury Star explains that in the fall of 2012 the city conducted a public feedback effort in order to gauge where citizens of the area want the OLG's proposed local gaming expansion to be physically located. A public meeting, held on October 10, 2012 to gauge public sentiment regarding the OLG expansion, attracted approximately 200 citizens. Overall, a total of 450 people submitted responses regarding the matter (when coupled together with an online survey regarding the issue). According to the article, the majority of respondents said they were in favour of expanding gaming being located at the racetrack, while the idea of a downtown casino came in second.

Even though those polled by the city were in support of raceway expansion over downtown casino erection, The Sudbury Star has reported that on Tuesday, February 26 Sudbury City Council supported a motion that addressed desired amenities for a potential casino development, if it is in fact going to come to Sudbury. The motion regarding the amenities is not location-specific (i.e. a downtown casino or Sudbury Downs) even though the feedback the city sought and received indicated that residents prefer expansion at Sudbury Downs over a new downtown casino. (* --- Editor's Note --- It must be made clear that, at this point, Greater Sudbury Council has not passed any resolution to identify its preferred location for the proposed casino development.)

Noting that there is no guarantee the introduction of a casino to Sudbury’s downtown will benefit the city at all, Councillor Evelyn Dutrisac said the city’s first priority should be keeping the OLG’s slot machines housed at the racetrack “until another solution is brought forth that will give us more for Sudbury."

The report states that Sudbury Downs is in Dutrisac’s ward, and that she is fully aware of the large ripple effect the local racing industry has on the economy of the area. "It is a very sad day to see the agricultural industry suffer because of this," the report quoted Dutrisac as saying.

The following is an excerpt from Premier Wynne in the Legislature earlier this week when she responded to accusations that the Ontario Liberals, via the OLG, was steamrolling its gaming modernization plan through the province with little regard for what the people of Ontario think about it.

“I have been very clear that municipalities have the authority and autonomy to decide whether they want to have casinos or not, Mr. Speaker. As a government, we will not be imposing those organizations, those casinos, on any municipalities, Mr. Speaker. It is up to the municipality as to how it wants to consult its constituency with the people of the jurisdiction. It is up to them. They can have a referendum, they can do other consultation, but they are going to make the decision, Mr. Speaker. The provincial government is not going to decide whether a casino is going to be located in a particular municipality. That is up to the community.

In the case of Kingston, City Council last fall voted 7-5 in favour of declaring itself a willing host municipality for a potential casino under OLG modernization. According to a report by CKWS TV News, a poll by Abacus Data conducted between February 13 and 15 contacted 500 Kingston residents and asked them whether they were for or against the construction of a new casino in Kingston. Sixty per cent of respondents were not in favour of a casino.

Given the results of the poll and the fact that Kingston Council is still officially opening its arms for a potential casino, Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark is saying that the poll results and general negative feedback on the issue is enough to force a Kingston Referendum on the issue, saying that the community position on the subject should hold more sway then Council’s sentiment on the issue.

The following is Clark's Members Statement in the Legislature from Monday, February 25 (to view video of Clark delivering his members statement, click here):

"I rise to call on the Premier to keep her promise that Ontarians get a say before a casino comes to their community. She needs to listen, because that’s not happening in eastern Ontario.

"Kingston council and OLG are pursuing a new casino that would devastate two communities in my riding and go against the will of the vast majority of Kingstonians.

"The front page headline in Saturday’s Whig-Standard shouted what’s in the hearts and minds of Kingston residents: “Poll shows 60% oppose casino.” This poll also showed an astounding 78% insist citizens get the final say in a referendum—not OLG, not city council, but the people. I remind the Premier that these people agree with the three members of her cabinet who supported our casino referendum bill.

"I would like to thank both the town of Gananoque and the township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands for their support. For 10 years, their communities have had a great partnership with OLG and the 1000 Islands casino. Both sides prospered. I want to thank the two councils for their great growth plan for the future.

“Instead, OLG is determined to plunder this casino from two communities who welcomed it with 59% and 62% support in a referendum and take it to a city where 60% don’t want it. Speaker, that is wrong, so I join Mayors Demchuk and Kinsella, their councils and their residents and the people of Kingston in calling on the Premier to ensure it doesn’t happen. Don’t let OLG break your promise, Premier, by forcing a casino on Kingston."

(With files from The Sudbury Star and CKWS TV News)

(* --- Please note that this story has been updated from a previous version which inaccurately stated that Sudbury City Council had supported a motion to request additional amenities for a downtown casino, specifically. Trot Insider regrets the inaccuracy and has corrected the error.)



Better yet...have all 29 gaming zone municipalities make requests for such added amenities to a casino build and just watch these US operators turn their tail on developing in Ontario out of pocket. No operator is going to sink 200+ million into communities where the population is 80,000 to 160,000 at best.

Every municipal councillor who voted against the wishes of their community should be marked to be voted out immediately. Put them on a wall of shame!

Contact all MPP's demand a reinstatement of SARP, copy and paste this email list of all MPP's
[email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected]

This women is no different than Mcguinty and Duncan its time for the NDP to stand with the conservatives and kick the Liberals out of power. kICK THEM SOUTH OF THE BORDER WOULD EVEN BE BETTER.

Would you all forget the three partys?!! Go Native Canadian, and get on with a sure thing.... thanks Leo Samarillo YO 1217

Having casinos at racetracks still does not insure horse racing will take place. For the most part, the general public is not interested in the racing aspect. Do a poll. What the public is interested is the human side of the story. The only way to make them aware of this is by the horsemen blockading the casinos. All this talk and political rhetoric will accomplish nothing for us. OHHA, are you listening?

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