Osgoode Councillor Doug Thompson, who successfully fought for the Ottawa casino to be located at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and Bulldog Ottawa’s Ken Gray formally debated the casino question on Ron Corbett’s CFRA program Unscripted recently.
Gray says the casino issue has been botched and the project should have been tendered while Thompson is happy it landed in his south-end rural part of town. The debate was very heated.
To listen to all the talkin’, use the podcast player below. Hope you enjoy it:
The Ottawa-Gatineau area would be hard-pressed to handle three casinos.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is governed by economics – not by Mayor Jim Watson’s political problems.
So if OLG says only one casino is viable for Ottawa, one should probably defer to its expertise in the field. Why build two casinos when one will do the trick. As well, Ottawa-Gatineau already has one magnificent casino. Essentially by opting for two Ottawa gaming palaces, the area would then have three.
When Council last met on July 17th, I indicated that I would engage with the Province of Ontario to clarify the Province’s and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s position with regards to the proposal that the OLG grandfather the Rideau Carleton Raceway as a gaming facility while creating a second gaming zone for the rest of Ottawa.
The Ottawa Senators discovered what Ottawans have been learning for years when it comes to zoning and the official plan. Both are just suggestions despite Mayor Jim Watson’s state of the city speech a few years ago in which he said zoning would stop being a suggestion. Guess that was a suggestion, too.
A downtown casino might have been a big economic boost to Ottawa.
Bulldog Ottawa spoke privately recently with a city councillor who said Mayor Jim Watson was vulnerable on the casino issue.
The councillor sensed a growing distaste in community for a casino and that the mayor and city staff, in rushing through the casino consultation, were ignoring the wishes of the people. That must have been the case for this mayor, who has repeatedly flown in the face of community wishes, caved on the casino issue. Watson has supported the casino because it falls in place with his far right-wing agenda.
Casinos tend to kill restaurants and other entertainment spots near them.
The real question surrounding the proposed Ottawa casino is not how much money will come from it for municipal coffers, it’s location.
Mayor Jim Watson has skilfully shifted the debate from where do you want a casino to how much will it make for the city. But that’s not the real issue. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says each municipality will be treated equally. So, if she is true to her word, we’ll all get the same deal as Toronto. Now if she doesn’t do that, money becomes a real issue.
A Toronto city report says that municipality should receive $148 million as a hosting fee for a new casino there.
This should re-open the debate on how much Ottawa should receive:
If city council opens the door to a downtown Toronto casino resort, it should insist on final approval of the project and an annual hosting fee from the province of up to $148 million, says a hotly awaited report from the city’s top bureaucrat.
Just how long does it take the media and the public to realize that Toronto supposedly getting a special deal from OLG on casino revenue is just a way for Mayor Jim Watson to recapture the publicity agenda?
What with all the pandering to the special interest group from the mayor’s office, in this case the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. above and beyond what OLG wanted for a casino, do other city decisions begin to make sense?
Last municipalelection the Citizen editorial board of which I was a member supported Jim Watson for mayor. And I did the same in my columns for which I received much criticism for being far too pro-Watson.
That wasn’t true I hope, but if it was, it was probably in response to my concern about his opponent Larry O’Brien. Now Bulldog Ottawa is becoming concerned about the Watson administration. Watson loves efficiency and doesn’t like controversy. Those two traits came together in the casino question.
The Ontario Tories are planning an announcement this Monday morning to reveal plans to revamp the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
No word on how this will affect a proposed Ottawa casino though the Progressive Conservatives don’t appear keen on it. The Toronto Sun said a few minutes ago that he plans to privatized the operating side of OLGC to get the government out of its every day operations.
Here is part of their release this morning. It doesn’t contain details of the changes: