Woolwich would share casino revenue if need exists, says mayor

Woolwich Township mayor Todd Cowan is open to sharing revenue with Waterloo Region from a proposed casino in the area, but only if social spending increases because of the casino.

Woolwich Township Mayor Todd Cowan is open to sharing revenue with Waterloo Region from a proposed casino in the area, but only if the need exists for increased policing and social services.

Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr has been pushing for a revenue-sharing deal if a casino comes to Woolwich Township to help defray the potential increases.

The Morning Edition host Craig Norris asked Cowan about revenue-sharing in a interview Friday morning.

"That's like us asking for a share of the revenue from some of the other things that go on in the region," Cowan told Norris.

Cowan went on to clairify that he understood Zehr's concern about increased costs.

Woolwich Township Mayor Todd Cowan.

He said a casino would generate around $3 million a year in taxes, and over half of that would go to the Region of Waterloo.

If there were increases in services beyond that, "We'd be more than willing to pony up if need be," said Cowan.

The economic impact report presented to Woolwich Township council on March 5, indicated that property tax revenue could be as high as $3.5 million. Another $900,000, from one-time development charges, would be shared between the township, school boards and the region. The township voted to support a bid for a casino at that meeting.

A casino is estimated to bring in around $4 million a year in gaming revenue, and that amount is what Zehr is asking to be shared with the Region of Waterloo.

Earlier this week Zehr and Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran both told the CBC that their city councils will have preliminary votes this month on whether to hold public consultations on a casino.