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Hamilton councillors disband gaming subcommittee

By Kevin Werner
METROLAND WEST MEDIA GROUP

Hamilton politicians disbanded the city’s gaming facility proposal subcommittee, saying all councillors need to debate the possibility of a new casino in Hamilton.

“We have a tight time frame,” said councillor Terry Whitehead. “Now we are at a point where the full council should be participating.”

The gaming subcommittee was created late last year to examine how the city could address the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s idea to locate a casino in Hamilton. The group was tasked with discussing ways to engage the public on the issue. The city recently hosted two public meetings, one in Flamborough and one at city hall, and organized a poll to be launched late in February.

The OLG has given the city until March 1 to decide whether it wants to host a new gaming facility. Councillors have already identified Flamboro Downs as their preferred location.

Meanwhile, Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla put forward a motion, which will be debated at the Feb. 6 general issues committee meeting, to hold a referendum on the casino issue.

His motion requests that the city hold a referendum during the 2014 municipal election, and ask the new Liberal premier to postpone the OLG’s restructuring process until the referendum can take place. In addition, the motion will ask the province to pay the estimated $1 million cost to hold the referendum.

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