Blue Heron operators say Durham Live casino project in Pickering “violates signed agreements” with First Nations band
Published July 26, 2021 at 9:26 pm
Premier Doug Ford has come under fire from the Indigenous operators of Blue Heron Casino on Scugog Island for breaking an agreement to “limit” the number of gaming facilities in Durham Region by allowing a mega-casino and entertainment project to be built in Pickering.
Durham Live, scheduled to open its first phase this fall, is being built north of Bayly Street, off Church Street on the border with Ajax. The Mississaugas of Scugog Island, who operate Blue Heron Casino near Port Perry, claim the proximity of the two casinos violates the terms of the agreement Ford made with the First Nations band.
“The Pickering Casino Resort is yet another glaring example of Premier Ford’s willingness to tread over signed agreements for political ends,” said Chief Kelly LaRocca. “This government has re-written the Ontario gaming map to suit its own agenda.”
The Province passed regulations in 2018 to allow the Durham Live project to go ahead “in breach of the government’s commitment” to the band to not operate new casinos in “close proximity” to Great Blue Heron, LaRocca noted.
“The Pickering mega-casino project would not have been possible without special regulatory orders from the Province,” she added. “The Ford government should respect and honour its signed agreements with Indigenous peoples.”
The project, which is being bankrolled by the Apostolopoulos family – one-time owners of the Silverdome in Detroit – faced a barrage of criticism earlier this year over its intentions to build on a rare wetland on the property.
Under pressure from environmental groups, the Province later revoked the order.
When complete, Durham Live will be anchored by a resort casino and 5-star hotel and will also boast a boutique hotel, convention centre, amphitheatre, restaurants, cinemas, an indoor water park, performance venues, an office tower, and film studios.
It is expected to create 10,000 jobs in the city of Pickering and contribute $600 million in tax revenue.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising