By Sean Cann-Sheppard 
BELLEVILLE – As plans move forward to begin construction of the new Shoreline Casino on Bell Boulevard , another casino an hour away from Belleville has been running successfully for over 12 years.
The Thousand Islands Casino  is located just east of Gananoque  in Leeds and Thousand Islands Township . The township’s chief administrative officer, Milena Avramovic, says the municipality and the casino have established a good working relationship.
“They’ve certainly contributed to both the town and the township financially,”Avramovic told QNet News Wednesday. “But they’ve also been community-minded as well.”
Township clerk Vanessa Latimer said that over the years the casino and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp . – which owned the casino until its sale last month  to Great Canadian Gaming, which will also be the operator in Belleville – have made grants to local organizations and non-profits, as well as helped sponsor annual community festivals.
The casino is also a major employer in the area, she said, providing jobs to over 420 people.
Gananoque and Leeds and Thousand Islands Township share revenue from the casino. Gananoque’s 2014 financial report listed casino revenue at over $1.7 million.
Avramovic said the casino continues to be an important asset for the area.
“It’s been a very supportive relationship,” she said.
Construction of Belleville’s new casino will begin within a few months. The casino is expected to create over 300 jobs when it opens next year.