Casino con­struc­tion mov­ing smoothly

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - TREVOR TERFLOTH tter­[email protected]­media.com

CHATHAM — Con­struc­tion on the new casino in Chatham is ahead of sched­ule, say com­pany of­fi­cials.

Lo­cated at the cor­ner of Rich­mond Street and Keil Drive, the build­ing is now en­closed for win­ter work, with the outer shell and roof­ing com­pleted, along with tem­po­rary heat­ing and elec­tri­cal.

“Work can now pro­ceed in­ter­nally, rel­a­tively im­mune to the chal­lenges of win­ter,” said Rob Mitchell, direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic af­fairs for Gate­way Casi­nos & En­ter­tain­ment Ltd. “Ex­treme weather con­di­tions could po­ten­tially still im­pact progress but, now that the build­ing has been en­closed, this can largely be avoided.”

Mitchell said duct­work is also pro­ceed­ing, as is plumb­ing rough­ins and ser­vic­ing for wa­ter and sewage.

Con­crete has been poured for two of the three main ar­eas of floor­ing so far, he added.

“To date, there have not been any real chal­lenges,” he said. “What chal­lenges there have been have been mostly weather re­lated, heavy rains for a pe­riod of time in the fall.”

The $36-mil­lion Cas­cades­branded facility will be 4,180 square me­tres (45,000 square feet) and could pro­vide as many as 200 new jobs. There will be two restau­rants: The Buf­fet and the MATCH Eatery & Pub­lic House.

The casino will fea­ture 333 slot ma­chines and 10 gam­ing ta­bles, roughly twice the gam­ing space as the cur­rent Dres­den facility, which will re­main open with no trans­fer of staff un­til the new casino is com­pletely fin­ished, Mitchell said.

Gate­way has aimed for a grand open­ing in the mid­dle of this year, with the date to be de­ter­mined.

“We are ap­prox­i­mately two months ahead of sched­ule in the progress of the con­struc­tion and are ex­tremely pleased that the con­struc­tion has pro­ceeded so smoothly with­out in­ci­dent,” Mitchell said.

There will be lo­cal job fairs for re­cruit­ment closer to the open­ing date, he added, as well as a train­ing pe­riod for new staff.

“Par­tic­u­larly for ta­ble games — cur­rently 10 are pro­posed. Ta­ble games are very labour-in­ten­sive and re­quire spe­cific train­ing, as you can imag­ine,” he said, list­ing poker, bac­carat, black­jack and roulette as ex­am­ples.

Train­ing will oc­cur on- and off­site be­fore the open­ing.

TREVOR TERFLOTH/POST­MEDIA NEWS

The in­side of the new Chatham casino is shown on Fri­day.

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