North Bay Mayor Al McDonald said news from Gateway Casinos & Entertainment that it plans to build on a parcel of land along the Pinewood Park Drive area of the city is significant on a number of fronts.
“One would be that it is an almost $30-million build. Secondly, the employment, not counting the construction jobs – those tend to be short term – but we understand there will be over 200 jobs locally. Thirdly, we understand they buy a lot of their supplies and services locally, so there will be opportunities for our local businesses to participate. And fourthly, there will be the increased assessment on a $30-million building,” said McDonald.
“Until we get the impact evaluation on what the taxes would be, I can only imagine that would be significant revenue to the city as well.”
Gateway confirmed on April 16 that it had chosen a 7.3-acre parcel of land just off Highway 11 for its planned casino.
"In the coming weeks, Gateway will announce more details on the size and scope of the development including new employment opportunities, food, and beverage offerings and the investment in the local economy for the new build," Gateway said in a news release.
McDonald said the city will receive a small portion of the revenue generated from the casino.
“I believe we’ll get close to five per cent of the revenues to a certain point, back to the city. So that has been estimated at over $1 million," he said. "I don’t want to pick a higher level than that, but it has been anticipated that it will be over $1 million.”
Council heard strong opposition from people who recently packed council chambers, holding tight to bright yellow cards that read No Casino North Bay, warning of the costly social implications a casino would have on the community.
“I think council wrestled with that for almost seven years now," the mayor said. "There are individuals that are opposed to the casino, and there are individuals that are supportive of a casino. But, the vote at council was overwhelmingly in support of the casino, and so we have to follow council’s wishes.”
Construction is expected to start up within the next few months once required municipal approvals are given.
The original version of this story appeared on BayToday.ca.