By Tyson Leonard
Quinte West is one step closer to letting a casino set up shop in town.
Council passed a motion Monday to request the OLG expand one of its gambling zones to include more of the city. Currently the zone only includes a small portion of Quinte West north of the 401 between Sidney St. and Wallbridge Loyalist Rd.
The motion passed 9 to 4 with support from the mayor.
Before the city will approach OLG about the possibility, council plans to judge public opinion on the casino.
“We will have a public meeting in July. We’ll advertise it and part of it will be about input for this type of facility and we will be gauging how that input comes in,” said Mayor John Williams.
If Quinte West is interested in a casino they will have to send a letter of intent to OLG by early this fall. After that the decision will be in the hands of the OLG.
Williams said public opinion will be a big factor in any final decision.
“Whether they come to the meeting or they write us we need to have that public consultation before we make any decisions,” said Williams.
Some councillors voted to stop the casino before it reached the next step.
Councillor Terry Cassidy said more research needs to be done. He said we wasn’t so sure Quinte West would benefit from a casino.
“It’s nothing more than a tax on idiots,” said councillor Jim Harrison who voted against the motion.
Williams didn’t say whether he would support a casino in Quinte West.
“All we are asking to do now is to go to the next step which is to have that public input,” said Williams.
“I think it’s important at least to go through the process and then at that point make your decision.”
The details of any financial payout a casino would have to provide the municipality is under review by the OLG.