Industry Reports

This Thursday Could Bring North Bay’s Turtles One Step Closer to Casino Venue

North Bay’s casino situation and the potential of a future gambling location making its way within the borders of the city or in its vicinity has been among the highly debated topics over the past few months, especially after Blanding’s turtles made their way into the conversation. This Thursday is going to see City Councilors tabling several motions that aim to clarify the situation and potentially make it possible for the proposed area on Pinewood Park Drive to welcome construction in the future.

The protected species of so-called smiling turtles have recently gotten in the way of proposed casino venue construction in North Bay, a situation that polarized the opinion of North Bay residents and environmentalists. In an attempt to provide protection of the endangered turtles, the organization Save the Turtle, Stop the Casino made it clear that the proposed location for gambling facility would threaten their natural habitat. In this sense, this Thursday is going to see presentations related to the wetlands.

Several Presentations Will Seek Change

The regular Council meeting this week is projected to see several presentations aiming to provide a better understanding of the current situation and regulations, as well as to potentially offer a positive approach to it. North Bay City Hall is going to once again become the arena of heated discussion in relation to the proposed area directly affecting Blanding’s turtles’ future.

Brennain Lloyd, Hannah Bywater, and Kerrie Blaise are already preparing for their presentations giving their attention to wetlands and the current regulations protecting endangered species and their habitat. Ontario’s government protects such areas via the Endangered Species Act that prevents building and developing among other actions. Earlier this month City Councilors expressed their desire to see changes to the Act.

Stating that turtles prevent the area from developing and attracting investors, City Councilor Mac Bain introduced two motions, later replaced with ones that include mandatory public input. He stated that Ontario officials could make slight alterations to the existing border in the Provincial Policy Statement, as to reflect the former delineation of Northern Ontario in relation to the French River. With this move, the province is would later facilitate North Bay’s plans for development in this particular area.

Locals Remain in Opposition

Any construction plan would first be thoroughly reviewed and an environmental evaluation would have to confirm that the existing population of Blanding’s turtles would not be harmed in any way. Even if it was not for the organization seeking protection for the turtles, it should be taken into account that locals are not eager to welcome a casino venue neither within the borders of the city nor in its vicinity.

Even though it would supposedly provide the city coffers with a substantial boost, the community is concerned that its operation would rob them of nearly CA$60 million, as there are no projections of tourists making their way and pouring in their cash. The proposed Cascades Casino North Bay is going to be managed by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment and the project is estimated to cost some CA$31.3 million to its operator.

Previously stated arguments in support of the casino operation claim that 200 individuals will be able to claim a spot within the structure of the gaming venue. Gateway Casinos has yet to pinpoint the exact location where it will build it, but it reassured the community that it would collaborate with Ontario government in order to keep all Blanding’s turtles safe and sound.