North Bay city council stands firm on casino — again — voting 8-3 in favour

It's official: North Bay is getting a casino. City council re-affirmed its approval from last week, voting once again in a favour of a $31 million gaming and entertainment complex.

Casino opponents ask councillors to give city's share of revenue to social programs

North Bay city council has approved a $31 million casino to be built on this vacant land in the south end of the city, between Pinewood Park Drive and Highway 11. (Erik White/CBC)

It must have been a little deja vu for North Bay city council.

Last week, facing a council chambers full of angry casino opponents, it voted 8-3 in favour of welcoming a $31 million complex planned by Gateway Casinos off Pinewood Park Drive in the south end.

On Tuesday night, North Bay city council considered the casino question again. Once again councillors faced heckling and harsh words from citizens who fear the social costs that will come with a casino.

Once again, city council voted 8-3 for the casino.

Janet Zimbalatti from No Casino North Bay asked council to consider giving at least some of its five per cent share of the profits, estimated to be around $1 million per year, to pay for social programs.

City councillor Chris Mayne noted that Zimbalatti volunteers at the charity bingo in North Bay, which was controversial when it opened years ago.

"Do you give consideration to what money you're taking from people who are playing bingo and if there was no bingo in North Bay, what else would they do with that money?" Mayne asked.

"We're not talking about the bingo. We're talking about the casino," Zimbalatti said to a round of applause.

Gateway Casinos hopes to have its North Bay location — with 300 slots, 10 table games, two restaurants and 200 employees — open for business in 2020.

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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