Hit the Deck: A Kingston Gaming Facility Recap

Hit the Deck: Gaming Facility debate, casino in Kingston, OntarioAs some of my regular readers know, I work a full time job with an overnight shift. Working nights has its perks for sure, but one of the downfalls is an awkward sleep schedule. This schedule bit me this week, and when I laid down for my usual afternoon nap yesterday afternoon, I didn’t wake up for my alarm. This means that – jokes aside – I slept through council.

So, since I missed the meeting… I had to come up with something to write here for you today.

Given that we saw another motion regarding the potential gaming facility on the agenda last night, I felt that a quick recap on this topic so far would be fitting. As preamble, a reminder that Councillor Schell has a pecuniary interest on the whole debate as she has a family member who works at the Gananoque facility, so 7 votes are needed for normal majorities, 8 for 2/3rds.

July 17 – 19, 2012: In the first part of this meeting, which ran past midnight and thus was July 17 and 18, council debated a gaming facility. The idea of a public meeting carried at the second half, on July 19, without a recorded vote.

September 18, 2012: Council heard a briefing and got the chance to ask some questions of OLG staff with regards to a gaming facility in Kingston. No motion was tabled.

October 2, 2012: This was the largest procedural night on record. The initial motion was tabled as part of the report from the CAO (Consider) by Councillor Reitzel and seconded by Councillor Paterson

An amendment was tabled (Moved by Councillor Reitzel, seconded by Councillor Paterson): “THAT as a condition, the City of Kingston Council further notify the OLG that it will not consider a casino in the Central Business District as designated under the City of Kingston Official Plan”. This vote carried 10-2. In favour were Councillor Berg, Councillor George, Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Glover, Councillor Hector, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Osanic, Councillor Paterson, Councillor Reitzel, Councillor Scott; opposed were Councillor Downes, Councillor Neill. Recorded vote was requested by Councillor Downes.

A second amendment was tabled (Moved by Councillor Hutchison, seconded by councillor Neill): “THAT as a condition, the City of Kingston Council further notify the OLG that any casino must be built within the urban growth boundary”. This vote lost 9-3. In favour were Councillor Glover, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Neill; opposed were Councillor Berg, Councillor Downes, Councillor George, Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Hector, Councillor Osanic, Councillor Paterson, Councillor Reitzel, Councillor Scott. Recorded vote was requested by Mayor Gerretsen.

A third amendment was tabled (Moved by Councillor Hutchison, seconded by Councillor Neill): “THAT as a condition, the City of Kingston Council further notify the OLG that no casino be built within 630 metres from an elementary, secondary, or post-secondary school”. Councillor Downes stepped out on a conflict of interest for this amendment as he’s employed by the Limestone District School Board. This vote lost 6-5. In favour were Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Glover, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Neill, Councillor Paterson; opposed were Councillor Berg, Councillor George, Councillor Hector, Councillor Osanic, Councillor Reitzel, Councillor Scott. Recorded vote was requested by Councillor Neill.

So the final motion wording was “THAT the City of Kingston Council advise the OLG that it is interested, in principle, in being a host municipality for a new gaming facility; and THAT as a condition, the City of Kingston Council further notify the OLG that it will not consider a casino in the Central Business District as designated under the City of Kingston Official Plan”. The motion carried, as amended, 7-5. In favour were Councillor Berg, Councillor George, Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Hector, Councillor Osanic, Councillor Reitzel, Councillor Scott; opposed were Councillor Downes, Councillor Glover, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Neill, Councillor Paterson. The recorded vote was requested by Councillor Reitzel.

October 16, 2012: After the setbacks to schools discussion, we saw something more concrete presented in a motion tabled as part of report 114 from the Planning Committee (Moved by Councillor George, seconded by Councillor Berg) which read “THAT staff be directed to research and identify zoning setback best practices in gaming industry developments and report back with recommendations before January 2013 with additional funding up to the amount of $25k from the Working Fund Reserve to assist with the preparation of the policy”. Councillor Reitzel was absent for this meeting. The vote carried 7-5. In favour were Councillor Berg, Councillor George, Councillor Glover, Councillor Hector, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Paterson, Councillor Scott; opposed were Councillor Downes, Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Neill, Councillor Osanic. The recorded vote was requested by Councillor Downes.

March 5, 2013: As part of the ‘New Motions’ section, we had a motion tabled by Councillor Hutchison and Seconded by Councillor Neill, “THAT Kingston City Council hold a public referendum on any OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming) proposal for a casino in the City of Kingston, and that, if necessary in order to facilitate the holding of such a referendum, the Ontario Government be requested to allow such a referendum; and THAT the Premier and OLG be informed of this motion, and that copies of this motion be shared with Kingston and the Islands MPP John Gerretsen, Leader of the Opposition Tim Hudak, and ONDP Leader Andrea Horwath”. Councillor Hector was absent for this meeting. The motion lost 6-5. In favour were Councillor Downes, Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Glover, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Neill; opposed were Councillor Berg, Councillor George, Councillor Osanic, Councillor Paterson, Acting Councillor Reitzel, Councillor Scott. The recorded vote was requested by Councillor Neill.

And finally…

October 15, 2013: Tabled as a New Motion with Councillor Hutchison moving and Councillor Osanic seconding – and after much procedural debate and on-the-fly friendly amendments, there was a “Motion to direct staff to report back to November 5, 2013 Council meeting on the details needed to hold a public opinion poll on whether Kingston should host a casino or not”. The motion was moved by Councillor Hutchison and seconded by Councillor Osanic, and lost on a 6-6 tie. Wording will be updated here when the minutes are finalized. Vote count will not appear in the minutes as no recorded vote was requested, but from Twitter, it appears that in favour were Councillor Downes, Councillor George, Mayor Gerretsen, Councillor Glover, Councillor Hutchison, Councillor Neill; Opposed were Councillor Berg, Councillor Hector, Councillor Osanic, Councillor Paterson, Councillor Reitzel and Councillor Scott.

So, where does that leave us? Well, the city remains in favour, in principal of a gaming facility in Kingston, provided it’s not in the Central Business District, as designated in the official plan. The city won’t hold a n independent referendum, doesn’t want staff to research the work needed for a public opinion poll, has held one official survey and one public meeting and has asked staff to report to the Planning Committee with information about potential setback considerations – just in case.

And now, we wait… We’ll see what the next spin around this wheel brings us.

Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.

Comments

  1. George says

    A potential gaming facility can be a good thing for municipal revenues and although there are social problems associated with gaming, people can play online so if someone wants to gamble then at least let it benefit the community via the good that can be done with the tax revenues.

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