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 Peterborough Examiner - - NEWS - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER JKo­vach@post­media.com

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.

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