Honourable and Dear Madam:
Re: Auditor General’s Special Report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Modernization Plan
We have received and reviewed with interest, the Auditor General’s Special Report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Modernization Plan.
We have no reason to doubt the facts, contained therein Madam Premier, and were pleased to see many of the conclusions support the Town of Fort Erie presentations (warnings) to the OLG and Provincial Ministries made by us in 2007, 2009 and again in 2011.
Fort Erie was the lone voice prior to 2010 in the advice to the Province that the Slots at Racetrack Programs was not working; that no one was paying attention to it; that there was no accountability or performance benchmarks.
Subsequently, Madam Premier, the OLG managed to convince the Province to embark on a Plan that is now proven to be bad advice, poor research and “overly optimistic” objectives. The result of that “bad advice” was the Province deciding to strip Fort Erie of its OLG Slot Facility, terminating over 300 jobs and millions in revenues to the municipal government. Furthermore, and most importantly it put in severe jeopardy the livelihood of more than 700 people at the Fort Erie Race Track.
Even though you have worked hard to turn that poor decision by your predecessor around, the fact is, Madam Premier, Fort Erie continues to bear the brunt of not having slots facilities and there is exponential effect of that vacancy on the performance and process in the turnaround at the Track as a result.
We appreciate your intent and efforts, Madam Premier, but now the Auditor General has made it clear that those decisions related to Fort Erie, were just plain wrong.
Will you please reinstate the Slots at Fort Erie and restore our Fort Erie Race Track back to Core Track Status.
Time and again over this very dark and disastrous two years, the Fort Erie Race Track has proven its innovation, its resilience and has grown its market.
Time and again you, your staff, the ORC, the Panel and the Industry have all acknowledged that the reason Fort Erie has a funding gap is the lack of slots facility and rental share.
The current Ontario Racing Live Program is predicated on redressing the problems with the abrupt cancellation of SARP and we need you to correct that mistake for Fort Erie and put Fort Erie back on track and on an equal footing with the Core Tracks in Ontario.
Madam Premier, will you commit today to reinstate Slots at Fort Erie and ensure that the Fort Erie Race Track is put on the solid path towards real sustainability and a long term future.
Our Town and those people impacted by the closure should not have to pay so dearly for the mistakes of the OLG.
Trusting this information will be of assistance to you.
Yours very truly,
Douglas G. Martin