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April 27, 2018

Toronto city council approves Woodbine casino plan

City council has given the go-ahead for a casino in north Etobicoke, under conditions including a $5-million investment in daycare for local workers who will be hired under a community-benefits agreement.

Councillors approved the beefed-up benefits agreement Thursday in the second day of debate on the matter, and also approved the zoning of the Woodbine Racetrack expansion as recommended by the Etobicoke and York Community Council.

The vote put a cap on council’s 2015 decision to allow the Ontario Gaming Greater Toronto Area Limited Partnership to expand gaming at the racetrack, so long as it offered community and social benefits.

Those benefits were to include significant local hiring, both in construction trades (10 per cent) and at the casino itself (40 per cent), as well as services and benefits to mitigate the impact a casino might have on the community.

This week, council added to those. The development must now provide a $5-million daycare, that will operate on extended hours to match those of casino workers. Council also strengthened language requiring best efforts to hire a minimum 10 per cent from local and equity-seeking populations. Labour representatives will sit on an advisory working group. And council tightened up accountability measures to make sure that all the community benefit requirements are honoured.

Rosemarie Powell called the final package “a win for the community, 100 per cent.”

Keep reading in The Toronto Star



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