Casino operator Hard Rock International, which took over the operations of the Rideau Carleton Raceway a month ago, has received a permission to expand the number of gambling tables to 35. The zoning for the land, which was introduced by the city council in 2011, allows casino operators to build up to 21 table games. In early November, it surfaced that Hard Rock has filed an application to the Committee of Adjustment, a minor committee that deals with minor divergence from the country’s land use laws, seeking a permission to expand the number of allowed gaming tables.
City officials explained that Hard Rock is trying to bypass council scrutiny and sneakily receive a permission. On Wednesday, it became clear that Ottawa’s quasi-judicial Committee of Adjustment gave a go-ahead to Hard Rock to add 14 new gaming tables to its offerings.
Earlier this month, Hard Rock has applied for a permission to install 14 more gaming tables in addition to its 21. In September, city council approved the partnership between Hard Rock and Rideau Carleton Raceway, which goal is to expand and modernize the worn-out raceway. But Hard Rock soared in the news when it became clear that the operator asked the Committee of Adjustment for approval, but not the city council.
The gaming operator stirred up the hornet’s nest with its attempt to quietly ask for a permission. Hard Rock pushed back against city councilors’ rampant accusations. The gaming operator explained that the expansion is a “minor” divergence to the country’s existing zoning by-law. Councilors, on the other hand argued that the Hard Rock asks 67% increase in the number of allowed gambling tables, which is anything but minor. However, agreed to leave the case in the hands of the quasi-judicial committee of adjustment after the city’s solicitor Rick O’Connor approved that the increase in the table games number is a minor divergence to the law.
Committee of Adjustment Approves Hard Rock’s Application
Hard Rock’s application was scheduled to be viewed by the Committee of Adjustment on 15th November in Nepean’s former city hall. According to the latest updates on the case, Hard Rock received a green light from the quasi-judicial body to boost the number of gaming tables it offers. In a letter to the president of Hard Rock Ottawa, four councilors opposed the expansion of the casino. Tobi Nussbaum, Catherine McKenney, Diane Deans, Mathieu Fleury, David Chernushenko and Jeff Leiper were the city councilors, who were against the expansion, arguing that the Committee is “overrul[ing] a council decision”.
Murray Chown, a planning consultant hired by the casino tried to quench the fire by explaining that the additional 14 gaming tables are not expected to affect the traffic or the city service in any way. The Committee of Adjustment is to make its report on the case public on 24th November. This will open a time window, in which the community is allowed appeal the decision in front of the Ontario Municipal Board.