I was extremely disappointed to learn that the Rideau Carleton Raceway, now operated by Hard Rock International, has submitted an application to the Committee of Adjustment to increase the allowed number of gaming tables by 67%, from 21 to 35.
As recently as September, Council made it clear to the successful proponent, Hard Rock International, that any expansion of gaming would trigger a series of conditions that Council put in place to protect neighbouring residential communities from adverse traffic impacts, including Blossom Park and Emerald Woods.
The conditions included that the proponent be required to complete a Community Transportation Study (CTS). This comprehensive analysis would include looking at the possibility of moving the RCR entrance to Bank Street, widening surrounding roads and improving public transit. In addition to the CTS, Council also directed staff to provide an analysis of potential economic benefits and impacts and potential social impacts related to an expanded gaming facility at RCR and to report back to the Finance and Economic Development Committee once complete. By going through the Committee of Adjustment to increase the number of gaming tables, Hard Rock International is bypassing these requirements.
I am discouraged by Hard Rock’s approach and my confidence in their willingness to be a good community partner is shaken. In my opinion, matters that appear before the Committee of Adjustment are not subject to the same level of council and public scrutiny one would expect for such a controversial and impactful decision. It is my continued hope that the proponent will respect Council’s decision and bring any requests to expand gaming in Ottawa through the appropriate channels.
The Committee of Adjustment will be hearing the application on Wednesday November 15th at 9:00 a.m. at Ben Franklin Place, The Chamber, 101 Centrepointe Drive. I encourage members of the public to attend to voice their opinion.
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