CHP has dire prediction for casino bid 0
Clearview Township deputy-mayor Alicia Savage (right) speaks during a presentation by the Christian Heritage Party and a local association of evangelical churches on the negative impact associated with a gaming facility, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. With Savage is CHP executive director Vicki Gunn. Emily Innes/Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin
WASAGA BEACH – About 40 people attended a meeting to discuss harmful impacts of casinos, Monday evening.
The Evangelists of Canada and the Christian Heritage Party of Canada hosted an information session at the Wasaga Star Arena with guest speaker Vicki Gunn, CHP executive director.
Gunn provided examples where gambling and casinos have caused an increase in drug use, prostitution, theft, suicide rates, loss of jobs, and abandonment of children in host communities.
"It's time for you to consider these things for the town you live in, the town you raise your children in," said Gunn.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has proposed that a 300-slot casino could be built somewhere in Zone 7, an area which includes Collingwood, Clearview Township, Springwater Township and Wasaga Beach.
“I’ve heard it all before,” Wasaga Beach Mayor Cal Patterson, who attended the presentation, told the E-B. “I’m trying to keep an open mind and, at some point, I have to make a decision.”
Patterson said he has heard from a lot of people who are in favour of the casino because of the potential for job creation, entertainment, and increased development such as hotels.
Clearview Township deputy-mayor Alicia Savage arrived after her township council's meeting to field questions from the audience.
“It’s not too late, but it’s almost too late,” said Savage. “It’s an uphill battle with the business community in particular. It’s unbelievable to me how they have swallowed the sales pitch.”
The meeting lasted more than two hours and organizers encouraged participants to fill out the survey located online at http://www.wasagabeach.com/Gaming_Facility.index.gk, and to prepare statements for the open mic portion of the OLG information session being held on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Wasaga Beach RecPlex.
“All (the messages) have to do is say ‘no, this isn’t what I envisioned for my community,’” said Savage.
Council members from the four municipalities and OLG representatives will be present at the Oct. 16 meeting and all questions must be asked through a moderator.