Downtown casino debated at community council
Published Wednesday, October 10, 2012 7:59PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:22PM EDT
Proponents and opponents of a new plan to build a casino in downtown Toronto were lining up Wednesday night to tell community council what they think of the idea.
“The opportunity that Toronto presents is really one that we see as one of the most exciting in the world, say nothing of the fact that it's one of the best in all of Canada,” Alan Feldman, senior vice president at MGM entertainment, told CTV Toronto
He said MGM’s proposal would include a hotel, several restaurants and shops.
But as a public hearing on the matter got underway, it appeared enthusiasm for the idea was far from unanimous.
“It's a horrible idea,” Maureen Lynett told CTV Toronto. “I don't think anything they're claiming is true.”
Lynett, who runs the "No Casino Toronto" website, said she’s gotten more than 1,000 people to sign a petition against the casino plan.
One ally to her cause is councillor Adam Vaughan.
“All the pretty pictures from Vegas, all the wild promises of jobs -- they may sound nice but what they're really covering is an agenda to put more gambling in Toronto,” Vaughan said. “That's going to hurt the local economy.”
But the gaming industry has arguments of its own to present to the public.
On its website, The Canadian Gaming Association claims 54 per cent of Toronto residents support the idea of a new casino in the city. It also claims a casino would create 12,000 permanent jobs in the city and millions in tourism revenue.
“I think people really need the facts with respect to what we're talking about here and not necessarily reacting to people's prejudices,” said William Rutsey, president of the association.
Based in part on input received Wednesday night, city staff will prepare a report on the pros and cons of the casino idea. It will likely be presented to the city’s executive committee for review next month.