Local Press Releases

Liberals nix Woolwich casino proposal due to community pressure

December 12, 2013

KITCHENER – In the face of growing opposition, the Liberal government backed away from a proposal to build a casino in Woolwich Township today after putting the entire Region of Waterloo through a heated debate about hosting a gaming facility in the area, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said.

“In a cynical move to accelerate their casino empire-building plans earlier this year, the Liberals pitted communities, across the province, against each other in a desperate race to raise revenue,” Harris said. “But it was clear from the start that the people of Woolwich Township and Waterloo Region did not want a casino. It’s unfortunate that it took the Liberals so long to realize this obvious fact.”

In March 2012, the Liberals announced their plan to develop new casinos across the province. In May 2012, they quietly revoked a regulation requiring mandatory municipal referendums to approve new casino development. The Liberals then replaced this regulation with nothing more than a rule that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation must consult with local communities.

“Nowhere in this process did the Liberals acknowledge that a gaming facility should not be allowed in a community where the residents don’t want one. That’s why the Ontario PC Caucus called on the Liberals to reinstate the requirement to hold municipal referendums before any new casino development could occur,” Harris said.

In March 2013, Harris called for a referendum to be held in Woolwich after the township’s council voted to host a casino despite receiving results from its own survey that showed 62% of residents did not want a gaming facility in their community.

Harris wrote an op-ed in the Waterloo Region Record earlier this year, which can be viewed by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/1dumQF4.