Gateway Casinos & Entertainment intends to introduce casino gaming to the Kenora area, but locals appear to oppose the proposed location for casino operation. Pinpointing former Abitibi Mill site for future casino triggered a local petition aiming to make gambling operation on its premises impossible. As Allison Crewe, the creator of this petition clarified recently, this would be possible via an official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment.
This would shift the casino operator plans to another Kenora area. Gaming expansion within the borders of Kenora is projected to increase traffic flow in the region and make the area much more vibrant and attractive for people in the region. Ms. Crewe made it clear that the petition does not oppose gambling operation, but instead this particular location.
Downtown Is Inappropriate for Gambling
Kenora individuals have the chance to express their support of the currently circulating petition involving the former lands were the Abitibi mill operated. Ms. Crewe wants to make it clear that locals want to see some amendment to the Kenora plan that would make it impossible for any casino operator to develop gambling business there. Amendments would aim to make a casino or a gambling hall operation there impossible.
Instead of building a casino complex there, Gateway Casinos would have the opportunity to develop its future operation at General Commercial area in the vicinity of Veterans Drive and Ninth Street. Concerns that eventually triggered the petition was the nature of the neighborhood where the casino operator wants to develop its future casino complex. It is a residential area with a constant flow of families and easily impressionable kids.
As such, the area was deemed inappropriate for welcoming gambling operation, as problem gambling rates within the community are projected to skyrocket. Moreover, many of the Gateway Casinos’ locations come with both a casino venue and family-friendly offerings, such as restaurants and live performance locations. Ms. Crewe pointed out that local businesses have expressed their concerns regarding competition within the local market.
Locals Do Not Want Gambling
The downtown area is not considered the best location for gambling, as the constant flow of individuals could be beneficial for a more family-friendly business making its way there. The petition creator wants to see the former Abitibi mill site transformed into an area beneficial for all members of the community. Upwards of 330 individuals have already signed the petition available online and making it easier for them to reach it.
Some of them state that affordable rental units are more needed than a casino venue as of now. Affordable housing within the said property might be a better solution for a larger portion of Kenora’s community. A hotel venue welcoming individuals from near and far might also bring benefits for a wider crowd, as well as a spacious parking lot for the constantly growing number of cars.
Mid-November the City Council would see a delegation speaking of the casino issue, presenting all concerns locals have expressed. It could be recalled that Abitibi Consolidated announced its closure in October 2005 part of an optimization plan amid increasing losses reaching US$79 million on a worldwide scale during Q2 2005.