Waterfront Woes, Casino Blows?

Posted by: Deb Gibbons

The Simpsons mockery on a new casino being built in Springfield. This image has been the mockery of the proposed Toronto casino on many blogs.

So, as many people have heard, The McGuinty Liberals have proposed a new casino to be built in the GTA. The majority of Ontarians, especially Torontonians (2/3 in fact!), do not support this at all. The government argues that the casino will generate millions and benefit the economy, allowing for debt balance. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan stated; “This new revenue will help us balance the budget”, along with another apparent “debt balancer”; the closing of the family famous Ontario Place. The OLG has defended their decision to back-up the Toronto casino by stating that it will be “modernized” gaming, meaning there is no worry of gambling addictions, mafia involvement, and exploiting of what was once a family-friendly environment?

That’s what many Ontarians are saying. Is the expansion of gambling really a prominent issue at the moment? Could the money not be better spent on the economy? Or even donated to the countries that are currently dealing with natural disasters, flooding, and nuclear plants? However, an opposite opinion, which accounts for only one third of the population is; “Why not?” If it’s not a casino, its condos. It will be used to the government’s advantage regardless, right?

However one opinion I think all Torontonians can share is that it would be slightly disappointing to turn one of the cities only access points to the waterfront into a “grotesque carnival”.  One blogger says that if the Liberals do decide to follow through, then they better go big, or they’ll go home;

I want to see Liza’s name dancing in lights on Lake Ontario… I want to see a bunch of independent, funky bars filling every nook and cranny and terrace of Ontario Place. And I want all those bars to have a constant, revolving flow of bands — some new, some established, some house bands — like the ones that used to make Yonge Street so much fun and employed so many Toronto musicians… I want them to restart all the games and rides and waterpark slides (ice slides in winter — right out onto the harbour at 3 a.m.) — but for adults, not kids…and a minor focus on gamblingIf the McGuinty Liberals could pull that off, I’d back Casino Toronto, but they can’t…they’ll do it half-assed.”-“Adult Adventureland” Alan Parker

I think I can agree, wouldn’t it be awesome?! Now that’s a reason to come to a Toronto casino! When it’s surrounded by other adult activities, bars, restaurants, and concerts! What tourists would bypass that? But along with this idea is the notion of using the Exhibition Place instead, seeing as it is already an event venue and tourist destination. Then the government gets their casino, and we get our waterfront.

It is definitely a controversial issue and has landed a spot in every major Canadian newspaper recently. I can understand the reasoning behind both opposing sides; however, I think I would have to side with my fellow Torontonians in opposing it being built on the waterfront. There is already so many buildings and so little nature, trees, flowers, grass. We live in a concrete city; can’t we please just keep this one little retreat reserved?

-Deb

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About publicaffairs101

Public Affairs 101
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