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Sudbury Councillors: 'Consult Residents'

Published: August 15, 2012 3:24 pm ET

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It has been reported that the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation has approached more than a dozen private-sector firms about developing a casino project with the city. The proposed expanded gaming facility could become a reality at one of four locales, which includes the current Sudbury Downs location.

Although, before looking too far down the road, local councillors have pleaded to the city to consult with area citizens before any more steps are taken down the route to gaming expansion in the municipality. The Ontario Government's desire to move gaming facilities into urban areas after years of profitability in rural locations has raised red flags over essentially all of the recently-announced gaming districts.

According to a report by The Sudbury Star, Sudbury City Council decided on Tuesday, August 14 to welcome a casino development to the city. The article also states that 'several' councillors were weary of what such a move would do to Sudbury Downs, the local racing community, area farmers and tradespeople which live off of the horse-racing industry in some form or another.

The report has cited certain councillors as being hostile about the Ontario Government's gaming modernization decision which will immediately impact residents in an adverse fashion.

The report explains that a draft of the revised revenue-sharing agreements between the Provincial Government and host municipalities is to be presented September 15. Ward 10 Coun. Frances Caldarelli has been quoted as saying that she wants public consultation done before the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. makes any decisions.

Coun. Caldarelli was quoted as saying, "Some people in the city have very strong feelings about where they would like to see the new casino located. The calls and emails I've received are from people who don't want it to be downtown.

"It seems to me that in many other cities, except (Las) Vegas, you see casinos sort of off by themselves. They are not crowded in the middle of a busy downtown [area]. I really feel it's important the people in the city have a chance to give their opinions before the process is decided."

"What will happen to our horse racing?" asked Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac. "If the slots move from Sudbury Downs, what will happen to horse racing here and the other 16 communities (with horse racing)?"

The article has quoted Ward 3 Coun. Claude Berthiaume as saying that he doesn't believe the city will have much say in where the expanded gaming facilities will ultimately be located, and that he believes residents should be speaking with the OLG directly and not city council.

"Sounds like to me like it's an OLG decision as to where (the casino) will be placed and what will be done," Berthiaume was quoted as saying. "However, we are organizing a public meeting to hear what people have to say. Sounds like we're being set up by OLG. Shouldn't residents be talking to the OLG?"

(With files from The Sudbury Star)

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