Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Premier Wynne, Consult This Region

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Premier Wynne, Consult This Region

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Premier Wynne, consult this region

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An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published Feb. 25:

Kathleen Wynne began her reign as Ontario's premier with a vow to do a better job consulting people about any controversial project that might be built in their backyard.

It's a smart promise and a welcome pledge for change. But words are no substitute for action.

If Wynne is sincere about showing greater respect to communities, she needs to prove it. And there's no better place for her to start than right here in Waterloo Region which could, in the not-too-distant future, wind up with a casino that most of its municipal governments, representing most of its citizens, don't want.

Yes, Ms. Premier, that's the situation and it's causing tension between the municipalities of this region.

Your government's throne speech just six days ago declared that communities "must have a voice in their future and a say in their integrated, regional development, so that local populations are involved from the beginning if there is going to be a gas plant or a casino or a wind plant or a quarry in their hometown. Because our economy can benefit from these things, but only if we have a willing host."

But how does this apply to Waterloo Region -- a big community with many smaller constituent communities? The way it stands now, the voices of most people in Waterloo Region count for nothing in the casino debate.

Of the region's five, lower-tier governments located in our new gaming zone, only one, Woolwich Township, appears interested in hosting a casino which could enrich it by $4 million a year in gambling revenues alone. Indeed, on March 5, the township's council will decide whether or not to welcome a large gambling facility into that community.

There's no other chance of a local "willing host." The City of Cambridge and the Township of Wilmot have voted no to the idea. The other two big cities, Kitchener and Waterloo, have expressed no desire to welcome a casino. …

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