A casino, hotel and conference center have been proposed for construction on Great North Road, along the waterfront of the Parry Sound by the Shawanaga First Nation as well as nine additional First Nations in Canada. A formal application for the proposal has not been sent in to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation but Wayne Pamejewon, the Chief of the Shawanaga, stated that negotiations to four-lane highway 69 via the reserve gives the tribe leverage to be able to move ahead with the project. Jamie McGarvey is the mayor of Parry Sound, Ontario who is in agreement with the plans.
McGarvey stated that the plan would mean a tremendous amount of growth for the area. What the plan is proposing to do would enhance the waterfront as well as be a major draw to the area, attracting businesses to the community. According to the mayor, people are already looking at the community due to finding out about the gaming proposal.
For the plan to work, the town would need to be able to upgrade services provided in the area and open the Parry Sound Drive to meet Oastler Lake Drive. The road project is much-needed for the plans to work and is part of the negotiations with those who own property adjacent and nearby that would like to see a municipal boundary moved to place them within the boundaries of the Town of Parry Sound. This moves the individuals out of the Seguin Township and provides access to municipal water and sewage.
While the town would have to pay for infrastructure upgrades, McGarvey feels it is worth it due to the potential to see increased tourism, the creation of new businesses and housing as well as an increase in property tax revenues. A construction boom could also take place as well, with seasonal and permanent jobs created.
McGarvey stated that 300 or more jobs would be created, which is a significant number. There will be construction jobs, IT positions, electrical, tourism-related and more. The mayor also feels that the cruise ships that frequent the area will also increase.
Questions have been raised as to problems with gambling of which the mayor responded that there are services in place to help anyone who is addicted, with tracking of game play available to help note anyone who could have a problem. McGarvey stated that the OLG should be providing Parry Sound with a casino license and he is working closely with the Pamejewon on the matter.