The majority of residents of Peterborough, Ontario, do not agree with the opening of a new casino, which is now under construction on Crawford Drive. Yet, the upcoming Shorelines Casino Peterborough is expected to contribute CA$3 million to the city budget, councillors claim.
The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, which seeks support for new gambling facilities in the area, commisioned a poll to look at citizens’ opinion on the planned casino expansion in Peterborough, Ajax, and Pickering. The results, published this week, show that 60.7 per cent of Peterborough residents oppose the new casino on Crawford Drive at The Parkway. Only 25.1 per cent of the people support the opening of a new gambling venue, while 14.2 say they are not sure.
Construction work on the Shorelines Casino Peterborough started in September 2017 and is expected to end late this year. The city council has made a decision to move the casino from Cavan Monaghan Township to Peterborough and according to city staff, the new venue would generate $3.2 million annually in shared revenues for the city. The cash incentive, however, does not seem to be important for the local community at least according to the new poll.
The opinion poll carried out by Daisy Consulting Group, Toronto, found that eight in ten residents (80.9%) have never visited the current Kawartha Slots Casino. Only six in ten people say they have been there more than five times. There is a significant difference in the answers when we take into account the level of education – 92.9 per cent of people with university degrees say they have never attended Kawartha Slots Casino, while 74.4 per cent of college-educated residents admit the same. Of those with high school education, 67.7 per cent have never visited the site.
Shorelines Casino Peterborough
According to authorities, the new 30,000-square-foot casino will open by the end of the year. Once construction is finished, Ontario Lottery and Gaming slot machines will be transported from the Slots at Kawartha Downs to the new facility. The staff at Kawartha Slots Casino, around 150 people, will be moved, as well, and the new venue will hire another 150 employees. The cost of the casino has not been announced but according to city staff, it will total approximately $49 million.
In September, Mayor Daryl Bennett said that the opening of a new, modern gambling facility would be good for the community. Many residents do not agree with this assessment, including Local activist Roy Brady who applied for an interim court injunction to stop the construction last year. The court did not announce a date and earlier this month, Brady announced that he is dropping the case because the work on the building is already in its late stages.
At the same time, almost three quarters (73.4%) of the residents support environmental assessment as part of the casino planning, the poll also reveals. In addition, two-thirds of Peterborough residents want a change in the city leadership, with only 15 per cent believing Mayor Daryl Bennett should be re-elected in the fall vote.