Discussion regarding the OLG’s casino plans has fuelled debate in Ontario communities for most of the last year. As the end date for debate gets closer, potential casino operators are negotiating with both the OLG and representatives of city council committees about designs and locations. Bidders on the proposed Toronto casino have publicly shared their development designs and the OLG has confirmed discussions with these operators. But that open transparency has not been provided in all communities across Ontario.
For example, Hamilton councilors have expressed frustration that casino design details have not been provided. The city has decided to poll the community in order to acquire feedback about the casino. But councilor Brad Clark, speaking after a council meeting on November 14, says Hamilton residents cannot provide feedback without all the development details.
“We should know what size the casino is and whether there’s hotel or convention space with it. OLG must know what’s going on but they’re not sharing the information with us, and as a consequence we can’t share that information with our citizens.”
Tim McCabe, Hamilton’s General Manager of Planning and Economic Development, says details about designs will be coming. He also hinted that there is more than one bidder that the city is in discussions with, but refused to elaborate. McCabe says the meetings with developers are part of Hamilton’s economic development process, and that until final negotiations are agreed upon, they must remain confidential.
This has not satisfied councilors excluded from the negotiating committees, including Brad Clark. He says designs for the proposal in Toronto have been made public, and doesn’t understand why Hamilton cannot do the same. McCabe again insists that the discussions are still very much in a bidding process, and that nothing is confirmed. McCabe maintained that they are working with the OLG to find a developer that is in Hamilton’s best interest.
“I want something big that’s going to help Hamilton and our tourism industry that will be entertainment and mixed use.”