Yes Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk should take, as he says, a “dim” view of the $320-million casino redevelopment of the Rideau-Carleton Racetrack.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation gave approval for the expansion, but Mayor Jim Watson and city council have the plan authority to determine the local location of the casino.
Melnyk, who has expressed interest in a casino and was denied a previous opportunity by Watson to bid for the site, found out about the racetrack deal in a press release.
A casino would certainly help the financial situation of the Ottawa Senators … an institution that is vital to community for promotion and creating business revenue.
The city has played hardball with Melnyk because he is in direct competition with the Senators at Lansdowne for sports and entertainment dollars. And it doesn’t help that Melnyk is not part of the Ottawa old-boys network of which Watson and other city officials are a part.
Melnyk wants to know what process went into the selecting the raceway site.
The Bulldog can save him a lot of work in discovering this. There was no process … just like the last time he was shut out.
The Senators operate without the multi-million dollar support of the city at Lansdowne and are looking for new ways to raise revenue to cut hockey-club losses. The city doesn’t see how it is in it’s own interest to help Melnyk. Given what the Senators do for the community, the hockey team should be foremost in the minds of the mayor and city council.
Watson is happy to wear a Senators sweater when things are going well for the team.
But behind the scenes, Watson has been working to undercut the Senators and promote its holding in Lansdowne.
Welcome to Ottawa, Mr. Melnyk. You’re not alone in wondering about process in this city. Glebe residents are still perplexed about process when it came to refurbishing that park.
An international competition for redeveloping Lansdowne was turfed by city staff unilaterally in direct violation of the approval at city council of the aforementioned competition.
Process? Mr. Melnyk you get process depending on who you are … and often a very one-sided process if you are part of the old-boys network.
Were I Melnyk, I’d tell Watson to take off the Senators’ sweater come playoff time.
With friends such as Watson, who needs enemies?
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