There’s been so much debate about the OLG fast-tracking its casino development plans, you can’t help but wonder if Dalton McGuinty stepped down in part for the controversy of being against referendums to the people of Ontario. Nevertheless discussions in communities across the province are underway with heated arguments on both sides of the debate.
With so much focus on Toronto, Ottawa, and now Hamilton, other communities are trying to make their voices heard by the OLG and the Ontario government, Sudbury being one of them. On October 10 the city hosted an open house discussion at Tom Davies Square where 200 residents showed up to voice their opinions. Many of the guests either work for or are dependent on business at the Sudbury Downs, the community’s primary horseracing track that receives abundant revenue from the slot machines situated onsite.
Two days later Sudbury’s director of economic development Ian Wood announced that requests for proposals from potential operators will answer questions of what the casino development process will include.
“As it stands right now, our expectation is it will be sometime January when we hope to know who the key players are and to begin detailed discussions.”
Wood acknowledged he understood people’s anger at the slots removal as it risks the entire closure of the Downs racetrack; even though he said it is anger that should be directed at the Ontario government not the city of Sudbury. He also mentioned the proposed locations for a casino including the Downs, the Four Corners Area, downtown, and Kingsway East; will require some facility or project built to benefit the community in addition to the casino.
The city is currently going through the proposals from the OLG on potential operators but also consolidating public opinion. Wood mentioned that anyone who missed the town hall meeting is able to submit an online form by October 24 to the economic development committee.
The OLG has signaled it wants community sites for pre-qualification to be issued by the time winter officially hits the province. Wood acknowledged Sudbury is trying to meet that deadline but admits the process is a long one that requires determining the best decision for the Sudbury community, not the OLG.
“We’ll be pulling that information together, for our purposes, but also to pass it along to the OLG and to potential proponents.”