Wayne Gates, Ontario NDP MPP for Niagara Falls, rose in question period today to urge the Premier to respect the wishes of Niagara Falls City Council and the Niagara Regional Council as they request a delay in the RFP process for a new casino operator.
“The way this process works, the focus is on upfront payments to the government and not on economic development, investment, job creation, or job protection,” said Gates.
The casinos in Niagara are the single biggest employer in the region with more than 4,000 employees; they rely on business from the GTA in order to stay profitable. Local politicians and business leaders have made it clear that unless the RFP is delayed and altered to include economic development, investment, job creation, and job protection, none of the big name casino operators will be submitting a bid.
“The way this RFPQ and RFP process is being run we know that those big name gaming companies aren’t going to bid. If they don’t bid, fewer people will travel from Toronto and that will put 1,500 good jobs in Niagara on the chopping block,” said Gates. “City Council has passed three unanimous resolutions and the Niagara Regional council recently passed another supporting this process, but they want to make sure that the whole region gets the economic benefit.”
Gates urged the Premier to listen to the local experts and leaders, asking, “will the Premier commit today to delaying the RFP/RFPQ process to allow for it to be re-written giving greater weight to job creation, investment, economic development, and job protection as requested by the City of Niagara Falls and the entire Region of Niagara?”