Over this past week it was announced that the former Nordfibre property was the subject of a rezoning application to permit a change of zoning from industrial to commercial designation. The former site has undergone a substantial change and removal of the plant and fixtures has made way, for future developments, including a portion to be designated as a possible site for the OLG Casino.
The future development of this site is welcome news for our City and our business community. When we look at the development of this site, additional commercial tax revenues for the City will be generated from this private sector investment and with the rezoning coming forward, one would guess that there has been interest by companies wanting to locate there.
One of those, is Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited. As evidenced by the news article also last week, their preferred site is the Nordfibre property although it also indicated, they were looking at all options. Gateway was the successful proponent with OLG and they have, no doubt, been busy with their expansion into Ontario. Taking over existing operations and getting prepared for the expansions into new markets such as ours as part of the OLG mandate, is an onerous and difficult task.
Public opinion on the Casino issue, or rather issues, continues to garner headlines. The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Director’s were one of the first out of the gate to throw their collective support behind the Casino proposal. From a business point of view, the construction of a new facility, estimated in excess of forty million dollars, is good for our economy. The construction jobs, material purchases, development charges etc., will have an immediate impact on our district.
Once open, the Casino will create 200-250 new jobs for local people. With an average salary in the fifty-thousand-dollar range, a new injection of ten million dollars in payroll alone, will be a welcome addition to an economy that has been struggling to gain ground. Add into that mix, another two million dollars in commercial property taxes, local purchases of goods and services and revenue split to the City, it makes a compelling case to support. And this is a small portion of the lands being rezoned. With the balance of the property rezoned for commercial development, others will be sure to follow.
The OLG decision to locate here and City Council’s support, has already been received. We have all heard of the perceived evils, that a Casino will bring to North Bay however, there is always the other side to the story and here is just part of it. We look forward to welcoming Gateway Casinos &
Entertainment Limited, in the not so distant future, to North Bay. This is a solid company with an established track record and proven reputation.
Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.