Updates on LRT and the OLG

I hope everyone had a great Canada Day weekend and let’s hope the rest of the summer is a little less wet than June was.  According to farmzone.com, the average rainfall in Ottawa in June is 85mm whereas we received nearly 130mm of precipitation in June of this year.  For our local farmers and for the enjoyment of summer, hopefully we’ll have a much better July and August.

While summer is officially upon us, there is still some work to do at City Council in the coming weeks including a vote on the plan for LRT between Tunney’s Pasture and Baseline Station and another vote concerning a casino in Ottawa. I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss the upcoming vote on the casino issue that will come before the Finance & Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) on Tuesday, July 9th and rise to full Council on Wednesday, July 17th

For those new to the issue, Council first considered whether or not Ottawa was to be a willing host to a new or expanded casino in October 2012.  This was due to the Modernization Plan put forward by the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG) that suggested new locations for casinos throughout Ontario.  Council voted 19-5 in favour of being a willing host, sending the message to the OLG that Ottawa should be considered for a new casino.  At that time, and with the support of residents throughout Rideau-Goulbourn, I voted against the idea as I felt the only desire of the OLG was a downtown casino and this would come at the cost of the existing Rideau-Carleton Raceway (RCR).  RCR is an integral part of our rural communities and its potential closure would result in the loss of nearly 1000 jobs, which, in my mind, would be completely unacceptable.  My opposition was not against the idea of expanding gaming, but against the potential loss of the RCR.  I was always of the mind that if we expand gaming in Ottawa or if we build a new casino in Ottawa, that it should be on the same grounds at RCR.

This brings to us to a motion before FEDCO on July 9th, put forward by Mayor Jim Watson, which states “that the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation be informed, prior to the start of the RFP process, that the only location acceptable to the City of Ottawa for an expanded gaming facility is the current location at the Rideau Carleton Raceway.”  This is a welcome change in direction from the support of a downtown casino that responds directly to the overwhelming support of RCR from the residents of Ottawa.  From October until today, I have consistently heard from residents across the City, either via email or in person, if we are to see a new or expanded casino that it should be at RCR.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen one individual come forward and suggest that he should be allowed to bid on a casino for him to build on land that he currently owns.  However, at no point in the last eight months have we heard from residents of Kanata/Stittsville, or any other community for that matter, indicating that they want a new casino in their community.  A new casino in a community like Kanata/Stittsville would decimate existing restaurant and hotel businesses and create a gambling environment in a community where that environment does not currently exist.  Without the support of the people that actually live in the community, I would not support the construction of a new casino in it and nor should the elected officials that represent that community.

Rideau Carleton Raceway was established long before any new developments have encroached upon it and a considerable buffer still exists between Findlay Creek and their site on Albion Road.  It is the logical choice for an expanded casino operation and I am happy to support our call to the OLG that this be the only location considered.  I strongly encourage my colleagues on Council to do the same.   I look forward to this vote and I want to thank all of you for the support you have shown for Rideau Carleton in recent months.

Watson's Mill Beer Tasting

Join the good people at the Watson’s Mill in Manotick on Friday, July 12th, between 7:00 and 10:00pm, for their annual beer tasting event.  Your $30 event admission will include five 4oz. sample tickets redeemable at any of the brewery stations with additional sampler tickets available during the event.  Approximately 8-10 local craft breweries will be in attendance, including Hog’s Back, Kichesippi, Mill Street, Beau’s, and others.  There will be appetizers and live jazz music provided by the Swamp Water Jazz Band. Each admission ticket will be given one ballet to vote for their favourite brewery and the winning brewery will win an intimate pairing and tasting session with Indulge’s renowned Chef David Godsoe, which will take place at Watson’s Mill later in the fall. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/WatsonsMill2013CraftBeer

Treats, Treasures and Open Market

The Kars Recreation Association wants to invite local residents to stop by the RA grounds between 9:00am and 3:00pm on Saturday, July 20th to mingle, browse and purchase art, crafts and homemade edibles from people in your community. Admission and parking are free.  This event coincides with the annual International Dog Show taking place on the Kars RA Grounds from Friday, July 19 until Sunday, July 21st.  The Kars RA is located at 1604 Old Wellington Street in the beautiful village of Kars.  For more information, please visit www.kars.ca

Flewellyn Road Closure

I’d really like to thank everyone on Flewellyn Road for their patience this summer as construction will affect this particular road due to three separate projects stretching the entire length of the road.  Earlier, we announced closures between Huntley Road and Eagleson Road due to the Enbridge Gas pipeline reinforcement project.  Beginning this month, we’ll also begin the resurfacing of Flewellyn Road, between Munster Road and Ashton Station Road.  The latest notice of closure is concerning the portion between Munster Road and Dwyer Hill Road for the renewal of a bridge.  This closure will begin July 2 and last until August 22.  Local and emergency traffic will maintain access and a signed detour will be in place.  Thank you again for your patience.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.