Appeal could be refiled
No Casino Peterborough group considers seeking party status to address OMB on objections to casino, despite new deal reached by city
The citizens’ group that opposes a casino in Peterborough may refile an appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
No Casino Peterborough chairwoman Sheila Nabigon-Howlett said the group is considering filing for party status.
“That is a possibility,” she said. “We’ve been talking about it .... As participants, we don’t have much of a voice.”
Last spring, the city rezoned a property on Crawford Dr. at The Parkway to allow a new casino.
The Downtown BIA and AON Inc. a downtown landlord, appealed the decision before the OMB – both parties wanted the city to consider a downtown location because a casino would bring crowds to the core.
Meanwhile No Casino Peterborough didn’t want a gambling facility anywhere in the city, out of concern that it will bring social ills such as gambling addiction.
But since the group lacked the money to hire a lawyer and planner to make the case, it took participant status (meaning they can speak up at the hearing, but don’t have to make a case).
On Monday, however, everything changed: The city and the DBIA announced a settlement that would render a hearing unnecessary.
Under the deal $150,000 per year will be provided annually for 20 years to the DBIA to promote the downtown and “for security purposes.”
It means that Great Canadian Gaming – the private company that will operate the casino - can proceed with construction.
The agreement still isn’t final though: Council is expected to ratify it at a special meeting Feb. 21.
In the meantime, the hearing hasn’t been removed from the OMB’s online schedule: There is still a pre-hearing meeting on March 17, and the three-week hearing is set to begin May 8.
When asked by The Examiner, a spokesman for the OMB said participants can still apply for party status in a case like this one.
They aren’t forbidden to try – but there are no guarantees they would gain party status.
In September, Nabigon-Howlett said her group had no money to take on party status. On Wednesday, she wouldn’t comment about whether the group now has the funds.
But she did say the group has a consultant examining the OMB’s deadlines and rules to see whether they can refile.
“We’re looking into it,” Nabigon-Howlett said. “We’re still resolute that a casino is not in the best interest of the city.”
At City Hall on Monday, Coun. Andrew Beamer said the casino is expected to hire 120 more workers (in addition to the 150 jobs that will be transferred from at Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs).
The deal also means the possibility of a new $17-million hotel, Beamer said, with 37 full-time and 11 parttime people, next to the casino.
Great Canadian Gaming said last year it wanted to start construction of the Shorelines Casino Peterborough in 2017 and open in 2018.