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A Mixed Bag Of Gaming Zone Responses


Published: May 24, 2012 12:44 pm ET

Last Comment: May 24, 2012 2:45 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

It appears as though the 29 gaming zones outlined in the OLG's recent RFI have turned out to be proverbial lightning rods since they were unveiled last Thursday. A highly respected racetrack executive has gone on the record as saying that the proposed zones are not set in stone. A mayor has said he doesn't want a casino. And a Liberal MPP has said that the OLG disregarded his pleas to include his locale, which includes a raceway, in the zoning mix.

Grand River Raceway General Manager Dr. Ted Clarke recently discussed the zoning issue with Dave Briggs, for his most recent column in the Guelph Mercury. According to Dr. Clarke, the 29 proposed zones are not "set in stone yet."

Elora's Grand River Raceway has found itself plotted in the extreme northern end of 'Zone SW1,' the first of the OLG's 12 areas for possible gaming expansion in southwestern area of the province. Zone SW1 also contains the more densely populated Kitchener-Waterloo area.

“We know that there is some desire to see a Kitchener casino,” Dr. Clarke told Briggs. “The thing is the zones are not set in stone, yet. There is the possibility for people to apply to change zones or to alter the outlines of zones. To be frank, I think it will be probably some time until those sorts of decisions get made.”

Grand River Raceway received some pleasant news when it learned that Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr is not supportive of the idea of introducing a casino into his city.

News of Zehr's position has come courtesy of a report by the Kitchener Record, which has quoted the mayor as saying, “I would not be supportive of a casino within the City of Kitchener, however I would not stand in the way of a public discussion if there was a desire to do so.”

Zehr stated that he is not aware of any private-sector companies in the area that are interested in opening a casino. He also added, “My current position is I do not think it (a casino) would add value to our community.”

One individual that wishes the zones would be altered is Liberal MPP Kim Craitor, whose constituency includes Fort Erie. The town was left out of the proposed gaming zones, and Craitor isn't holding his breath that anything will change in its favour.

Craitor has been a vocal supporter of racing and the retention of slots gaming at the historic Fort Erie Race Track. He previously went as far as to get representatives from the OLG to sit down with reps from the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium to discuss the possibility of the consortium running the gaming operations at the raceway in addition to the horse-racing aspect.

According to a report by Bullet News, Craitor has voiced his displeasure about Fort Erie's lack of presence in the zoning process. The report has also cited him as saying that the OLG's decision in regard to the gaming zones 'means the end of the road' for the concept of a local takeover in order to resurrect slot-machine gaming at the local track.

Craitor also doesn't feel that the OLG will change its mind and place Fort Erie in a zone. “I had tried to convince them that Fort Erie should be its own zone, but I wasn’t successful,” he said, adding, “I couldn’t convince them to make an exception (for Fort Erie).”

The Bullet News report also contains quotes from PC MPP Monte McNaughton, who, according to the article, questioned the OLG decision to establish gaming zones in municipalities that have never expressed an interest in hosting gambling facilities, while, at the same time, shutting out a community like Fort Erie, which has had an established gaming industry for more than 100 years.

“The OLG needs to slow down and respect local voices,” McNaughton was quoted as saying.

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OLG Announces RFI, Outlines 29 Gaming Zones

May 24, 2012 - 2:45 pmThis whole issue kind of

This whole issue kind of illustrates the way political parties in Canada act when they assume power. They do what THEY want to do, with little or no consideration or consultation with the people ( the ones who pay the taxes ). WHO exactly is Dwight Duncan ( my M.P.P. ) representing??? Certainly not me.

May 24, 2012 - 1:55 pmI take my hat off to Liberal

Chuck Ibey SAID...

I take my hat off to Liberal MPP Kim Craitor in fighting for what is right for racing. His riding includes Fort Erie and he has been very vocal about racing. Perhaps it's time for him to cross the floor and join a party trying to save racing from destruction by his party. jmo Chuck Ibey

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