At our September Board meeting, the Durand Neighbourhood Association Board of Directors advised Councillor Farr that they were not in favour of having a Casino in downtown Hamilton.  They have also asked him for his position, which we are currently awaiting.  Today, members of the OLG and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario were delivering a presentation to Councillors and according to breaking news at the Spectator, Council has requested the OLG if it is possible to delay their decision until such time Hamilton citizens have the opportunity to way in on this very important issue.

President Sarah Matthews and the DNA have also sent out a letter to all neighbourhood associations in Wards 1, 2, and 3 requesting that they support the decision to not have a casino in downtown Hamilton.  We have received excellent support and feedback from many groups who are going to their membership for their input.

Please see below the letter that was sent by President Matthews and the DNA.

TO:  Wards 1, 2, and 3 Neighbourhood Associations and your Membership

RE:  CASINO IN DOWNTOWN HAMILTON

As you and your members know, there is discussion at the moment regarding whether or not Hamilton will pursue the bidding for and the building of a new casino through Ontario Lottery and Gaming. In particular, the provincial government is recommending that wherever possible, new casinos should be located in or near downtown centres.

We are very concerned about the social and economic impacts that would result should a casino be built in downtown Hamilton.

Socially, the costs can be significant, on individuals, families, extended families, and the community as a whole. Economically, we believe there will be no uptick in terms of revenues for local businesses.

We believe we must express our concerns to our Councillor, and the Durand Neighbourhood Association will do so. We have reviewed information pertaining to very recent changes to provincial legislation about gaming in Ontario, specifically the lack of impact a referendum will have on a final decision of the location of a casino. In addition, we have reviewed published reports on the social impact casinos can have on communities. We attach information about both for you, your Board, and your members to review.

By many reports, downtown Hamilton is seeing much progress on many fronts. We believe a casino is not required for that momentum to continue.

We ask for your help in joining a unified voice of all neighbourhood associations in Wards 1, 2, and 3 in telling our politicians, and the OLG, that we do not want a casino in our downtown.

We would ask that you:

–  read the attached documents

–  share them with your members

–  include the casino on the agenda of your next neighbourhood association meeting

–  lend the voice and the vote of your neighbourhood association in opposing a downtown casino

Unfortunately, time is of the essence. Isn’t it always? Therefore, we ask you to consider doing a phone or email poll of your Board and possibly your members, if you do not have a meeting scheduled within the next two weeks. It would really be helpful if we could all share the position of each of Association on or before September 15. We realize that is tight, but the debate is unfolding right now.

May we ask you to let us know, either way, if you believe this is a concerted effort in which your neighbourhood association will participate by sending us an email.

president@durandna.com

That way, we will have a sense for how many associations are likely to be part of the unified voice.

At the moment, we are considering holding a media conference at which we would have representatives of each participating neighbourhood association, and possibly BIA’s and local church leaders.

Thanks in advance for considering our recommendations. We are happy to hear your own recommendations that we may then share with our members. All we hope to do through this email is to get the ball rolling. We want to build this response together. Just imagine the impact if we could have all neighbourhood associations saying we do not want a casino downtown?

All the best,

Sarah Matthews

President

Durand Neighbourhood Association

Community Research Partners :  The Social Impact of Casinos:Literature Review and Cost Estimates January 21, 2010
http://www.communityresearchpartners.org/uploads/publications/Casino%20Social%20Effect%201-21-10.pdf