Choosing casino location up to local leaders: premier
Sudbury councillor anxious for city to take a stand on where the casino will be placed
Posted: Feb 20, 2013 11:25 AM ET
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2013 3:24 PM ET
Ontario's premier says she wants the decision on new casinos to be made by city councils.
The remarks made last week came as a surprise to some municipal leaders, even though the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation says this has been the plan all along.
Speaking to reporters in Hamilton, Premier Kathleen Wynne said she wants the ultimate decision to be made locally.
"We're going to allow municipalities, within the framework of other provincial policies, to decide whether they want a casino or not and where it will be located,” she said.
"My position is that the province needs to stay out of those decisions."
This would seem to conflict with the message Sudbury city council has been getting from Ontario Lottery and Gaming, which says cities have only "influence" over the decision.
But OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said the plan has always been that his agency, the city and the casino operator would agree on what the casino will look like, and where it will be built.
"[If] any of those three parties say no, then we kind of go back to the drawing board,” he said.
"The city can say no in this whole process, in terms of location, and so can OLG and so can the private sector operator. So, all three parties need to be in agreement for the process to move forward."Greater Sudbury councillor Terry Kett (Supplied)
But no matter who holds the ultimate trump card, it's time for Sudbury’s council to get involved, said Coun.Terry Kett.
"I hope that, very quickly, we go from deciding in a general way what we want to do and then get down to the specifics,” he said.
Council will debate a motion next week, which states the casino should come with extras like an arena, hotel or convention centre.
But Kett said he hopes a decision on the location will come soon after.
It will still be several months before the province selects the private company it wants to run the five casinos planned for northern Ontario.
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