Casino News

Hard Rock Casino Ottawa Eyes Alternative Construction Site

Hard Rock Casino Ottawa is one of the gaming expansion projects ready to transform the region and enhance its offerings. Recently the gaming corporation announced its new plan for development in the Rideau Carleton Casino area and this time the new complex would be placed on the south side of the casino location. This position calls for a four-lane extension of Earl Armstrong Road.

As it often happens in life, plans rarely remain unchanged throughout the years and Hard Rock Casino Ottawa has been subjected to several changes throughout the years. The CA$318-million project was originally supposed to be built on the north side of the Rideau Carleton Casino currently operating in the area. Exactly two years ago, this was the plan pitched to the local officials.

Expansion South of Rideau Carleton

However, now it is time for a change, as Hard Rock Casino Ottawa would like to see its expansion on the south side. Such a move includes the construction of a well-rounded casino venue, in addition to more family-friendly offerings to the likes of a 1,600-seat theatre for live events, dining offerings, as well as a hotel tower with 178 rooms available for booking.

The original plan for action meant that the gambling and entertainment complex overseen by Hard Rock would face Albion Road, easing up the access to the location. Now it has become clear that the complex would have to be connected with Earl Armstrong Road. This introduces a change of plans for the City Council, as Ottawa was not planning to work in this particular area of the road in the upcoming ten years.

The beginning of February saw a milestone change happening, as Ottawa’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee gave its rezoning approval to the new construction site. This is a mandatory move, as the project is about to include both gambling and family-friendly offerings, coming with their own rezoning conditions. This change opened the conversation about road expansion.

Projections for New Casino Complex

City officials would like to see action taking place in the area, as the committee pointed out, It would like to see an extension added to the Earl Armstrong Road sooner than initially projected. This is expected to make transportation easier in the region, as well as improve access to the new complex. Projections are that the new complex would result in an increase in the traffic. A 2018 traffic assessment report found out that the casino expansion on Albion Road would not cause a significant traffic increase.

Back then, Coun. Diane Deans, who has been a vocal opponent of expanding gambling in the capital, urged the officials to make a new traffic assessment. She explained that the city staff forgot to include the 2,500-seat theatre, the restaurant and other amenities as potential “traffic generators”. The last months of 2019 saw the end of the environmental assessment for the Earl Armstrong Road expansion, confirming it is safe to be developed in the foreseeable future.

Last year, Loto-Quebec pointed out that the new casino complex might negatively affect Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, once Hard Rock Casino Ottawa launches its gambling venue in 2021. The Rideau Carleton Raceway’s transformation would result in CA$10-million loss for Gatineau by the end of that fiscal year. The project is about to positively impact the local job market, as well as the city coffers. The City of Ottawa with annual non-tax gaming revenue allocations amounting to CA$12.8 million.