Wabigoon Lake First Nation near Dryden wants to build a casino with the hope that it will benefit both communities — but the odds of actually getting one up and running don't look good.
The two communities did a feasibility study before the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation put a stop to building new gaming sites.
With that moratorium now over, Wabigoon Lake chief Ruben Cantin said he wants OLG to consider the pitch now.
"The economy hasn't been that good within the last few years here, so I think it's very crucial that … communities … have an opportunity in building the economics around a casino," he said.
Won't hurt to 'resubmit'
Cantin went to Dryden council last month asking for a letter of support.
But the city manager said the town won't get on board because Dryden isn't on the OLG's list for expansion sites. Joe Van Koeverden said Dryden council doesn't see the point in supporting the casino idea.
He added: "We know that, through the OLG regulations … for the council to pass [this] type of resolution, the need to have a public meeting [comes] first, and there's no public meeting scheduled at this time."
The five designated gaming zones for OLG across northern Ontario include Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, North Bay and Kenora. Currently, North Bay and Kenora are the two communities that don't have gaming facilities yet.
Cantin wants to try to beat the odds and get the province to consider Dryden for a potential casino.
"We want to re-submit our application before March 7 and make sure that ... because it's been in the system, it [won't] hurt to re-submit the application," he said.
Cantin said the First Nation is proposing an entertainment complex with a casino as a central component.