Residents opposed to a plan that would re-zone land on the outskirts of the Ontario city of Peterborough so that operator Great Canadian Gaming Corporation can build a new casino could be set to have their appeals heard in court in September.

According to a report from The Peterborough Examiner newspaper, the Ontario Municipal Board has scheduled an open-to-the-public pre-hearing date for the morning of September 13 where local property owner AON Incorporated, the Downtown Business Improvement Area association and the No Casino Peterborough lobby group are to have their grievances against the planned Shorelines Casino Peterborough established.

Carlo Falletta, spokesperson for the Ontario Municipal Board, told the newspaper that there will likely be a single pre-hearing for the three appellants before a decision is taken on whether to hold a full hearing on the matter in court.

Sheila Nabigon-Howlett, Chairwoman for the No Casino Peterborough organization, stated that the group has still to engage the services of a lawyer but is “getting on with the planning arguments”. She declared that her party intends to contend that the Shorelines Casino Peterborough would environmentally harm nearby Harper Park.

The newspaper reported that AON Incorporated and the Downtown Business Improvement Area association are to be represented by Toronto-based lawyer Gordon Petch with the latter set to argue that the new casino should be built in nearer to the center of the city in order to bring investment, revitalization and crowds.

But, Chuck Keeling, spokesperson for Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, explained that the operator has no interest in a downtown location for the Shorelines Casino Peterborough. He stated that it is unclear how long an appeal might take although he still hopes to begin operations by 2017.

“It’s all contingent on the resolution of this issue,” Keeling told The Peterborough Examiner.

Last year saw the state-owned Ontario Lottery And Gaming Corporation name Great Canadian Gaming Corporation as the private operator for its eastern Ontario gaming bundle, which consists of Slots At Kawartha Downs alongside the existing casino near Gananoque and a new venue now under construction in Belleville. The province wants to boost gambling revenues by offering more slots and table games and the Vancouver-based operator controversially decided that the best way for this to be accomplished was to construct the new Shorelines Casino Peterborough rather than expanding its Slots At Kawartha Downs facility in Fraserville.

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