City Hall pushes off debate on Toronto casino question
City Hall wants to do more homework before a debate on Toronto's casino question.
The city wants to make sure they're armed with all the details before the mayor's executive committee and city council talk the issue over.
Staffers were due to release a report this week on the possible advantages and potential drawbacks of building a new casino in Toronto but they will hang onto it until they nail down details with officials at Ontario Lottery and Gaming.
That means plans for Mayor Ford's executive committee to debate the controversial issue on March 20th will not happen. Instead, the report will either be discussed on the committee's next scheduled meeting on April 23rd, or a special meeting will be called at an earlier date if the report is ready to go.
The debate would have gone to council Council was in the first week of April but with this delay, that could happen as last as May 7th.
Deputy mayor and executive committee member Doug Holyday says City Hall's got nothing to lose by putting the debate off.
"I'm certainly not against taking more time to make sure we get it right," he says.
Holyday still has questionsn about the proposed casino project, like how much money Toronto would get from the Ontario government each year for hosting the complex.
OLG says that fee could be between $50 million and $100 million but earlier estimates pegged that amount in the ballpark of $150 - $200 million.
"I'm not prepared to make a decision on a casino until I know exactly how Toronto will benefit from it," says Holyday.
Holyday adds he wants firm answers on how many jobs a casino would create.
He's also wants to know what city hall and the Ontario government will do with the revenue that is generated from the facility.
"If they're going to take money from a casino and throw it into a big, black hole somewhere then I'm not interested in that. I think the money should go to public transit and I think the province should also be asked to contribute part of their new money to public transit so its a benefit to not just the citizens of Toronto, but the region as well."