New casinos outside Niagara worries Maves

By Kris Dube / News Editor
February 10, 2014
New casinos outside Niagara worries Maves
Bart Maves and Tim Hudak at Can-Eng, an industrial furnace manufacturer in Niagara Falls. Bullet News photo by Kris Dube.

NIAGARA FALLS - Bart Maves says if the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation follows through with its modernization strategy and builds new casinos across the province, it would be a terrible hand dealt to Niagara.

Brought forward in 2012, the strategy would divide Ontario into 29 gaming zones.

Maves said this is an issue that hasn't been given enough attention along the Niagara Falls byelection trail and that it would devastate the local economy if the plan moves ahead at Queen's Park.

“I've already talked to people at the casinos – we would lose 1,000 jobs overnight,” said Maves.

He also pointed out that 54 per cent of the patronage at the two casinos in Niagara Falls comes from the Greater Toronto Area.

“That would be devastating to our tourism industry and I'm dead opposed to that,” said Maves.

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak also blames the NDP for voting with the Liberals in favour of the modernization strategy, saying they “sold us out.”

Hudak said Maves was being modest when providing thoughts on the gaming strategy and wanted to point out that when the current candidate was an elected MPP in the 1990s – he was part of the government that brought two casinos to Niagara Falls in the first place.

“That's created tens of thousands of jobs,” said Hudak.

In late 2013, Niagara Falls city council voted in favour of setting aside $22 million from what the province hands to the municipality for hosting casinos - to cover part of the cost of a new hospital at Lyons Creek and Montrose Roads.

Both were in Niagara Falls on Monday afternoon at Can-Eng, an industrial furnace manufacturer on Montrose Road, to talk about their party's plan for the province.

Maves said although the local manufacturer is running successfully, he said many companies it has sold furnaces to over the years – have closed their doors because of expensive hydro rates.

“Those companies are now shut down, simply because of power costs,” said Maves.

Hudak said his 'Millions Jobs Plan' will lower electricity rates, bring down taxes and eliminate a lot of what he feels is unnecessary red tape that business owners have to cut through before attempting to expand operations.

“I want to see made in Ontario and made in Niagara products like these furnaces sold around the world, putting more people back to work in this province,” said Hudak.