The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) met with the Mayor and Town Officials at Town Hall this morning to confirm the closure of Fort Erie Slots on April 30, 2012. The OLG representatives met with their Fort Erie staff earlier in the morning to make this announcement. Slots have been operating in Fort Erie for 13 years.
Approximately 220 OLG jobs will be affected in Fort Erie. Approximately 100 Fort Erie Race Track jobs will also be affected. The Province has committed to maintain their financial support to the Town for 12 months from the closure date with the funding amount equal to that of the previous 12 months. The Province will also maintain their financial commitment to the Fort Erie Race Track to the end of 2012 contingent that horse racing continues.
Windsor and Sarnia horse track sites received the same message today.
Mayor Doug Martin is trying to make sense of the government’s new gaming and lottery plan entitled “Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario.” He reflected how devastating it would be to his community. Given the impact, he questioned why the Province was moving in this direction rather than attempting to formulate alternate plans with its partners. “This Government seems to be heading in its own direction with no consultation and no concerns about the number of bodies it leaves in its wake.”
Jim Thibert, representing both the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium and the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation was present at the meeting and confirmed that “racing will continue through 2012 at the Fort Erie Racetrack”.
Ron Tripp, Acting Chief Administrative Officer for the Town stated “It is very difficult not to be discouraged right now. It seems the harder the Town tries managing through these difficult economic times, the more challenges we face. Now we need to consider not only directly impacted families within our community, but also the $1.3 million of annual budget support associated with the slots and the over $0.7 million of property taxation and user fee revenue associated with the site.”
Mayor Martin and Mr. Tripp confirmed that work will begin immediately with Council and staff to evaluate the long term financial position of the Town and to formulate a go forward plan.
For more information, contact
Acting Chief Administrative Officer
905.871.1600 Ext. 2400