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Godfrey Colleague Speaks Out Against Front St. Casino

Published: February 6, 2013 1:39 pm ET

Last Comment: February 6, 2013 4:00 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Real-estate firm RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, who has Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Chair Paul Godfrey as the chair of its board, has come out and said it is completely against the possibly of the creation of a casino and related entertainment complex in the Front St. area of downtown Toronto.

The Globe and Mail has run an article explaining that a letter signed by RioCan CEO Edward Sonshine, along with Allied Properties CEO Michael Emory and the president of Diamond Corp., Stephen Diamond, has been submitted to Toronto City Manager Joseph Pennachetti.

The letter states that the three organizations are against the proposition of erecting a casino complex on Front St. The letter cites the 'potential harm' and the 'potential negative impacts' that the introduction of a gaming/entertainment complex on Front St. could bring to the downtown. The letter states that in the three groups' opinion, 'the potential negative impacts from developing a mega casino in the downtown outweighs the potential benefits.'

The Globe report also states that the RioCan, Allied Properties and Diamond Corp. are fearful that the idea of a mega casino on Front St. could put an outstanding land deal that the group is working on in jeopardy. The $170-million deal in question relates to an area that could end being eight acres in land. The area, referred to by the National Post as 'The Globe and Mail Lands,' is close to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and is located west of Spadina, north of Front and south of Wellington.

In regard to the proposed Front St. casino proposal, The Globe article quoted Sonshine as saying, “It’s a bad idea because of traffic, because of infrastructure, because of all kinds of reasons. Certainly we have no problem if the city decides to put a casino somewhere else. We just think it would be a disaster there on Front Street – We are not taking a position on a casino. We are taking a position on a casino in the core.”

In regard to Godfrey, Sonshine was quoted as saying, “He is chair of RioCan, but this is a management decision. I do what is best for RioCan.”

Godfrey commented on the situation in an article by the National Post by saying, “[Ed Sonshine] can do things as an individual, this isn’t a board matter,” adding, “I encourage people on both sides of the issue to get their points of view across.”

A report by the Toronto Star on the issue has quoted Sonshine as saying, “It’s cars coming into the core. The big problem would be infrastructure issues. I don’t think it’s in anybody’s interest to create something where a lot more vehicles are coming into the downtown core.”

In The Star article, anti-downtown casino Councillor Adam Vaughan also pointed out the fact that Godfrey, "couldn’t convince his own board,” regarding the Front St. casino expansion, adding that the RioCan Board knows that "in the healthiest downtown of any North American city, dropping a casino in is like dropping a grenade in a crowded room.”

(With files from The Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star)

February 6, 2013 - 4:00 pmI can't believe the number of

Bev Heywood SAID...

I can't believe the number of pots this Godfrey guy has his fingers in. He somehow manages to weasel his way onto every decision making board out there. What ever happened to conflict of interest?

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