Thursday, February 14, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, February 14, 2013

Revised casino motion leaves door open

Sam Merulla says he has struck a last-minute deal with his fellow city councillors that identifies Flamborough as the only site for a casino, but still gives Hamilton wiggle room to pursue other locations.
Merulla initially planned to introduce a motion, naming Flamboro Downs as the only possible location for a gaming facility, at Thursday afternoon’s special casino meeting.

However, his updated motion leaves the door open for other locations if Flamboro proves to be problematic.

A draft of the compromise motion, obtained by The Spectator Wednesday afternoon, states if potential operators “demonstrate that Flamboro Downs is not a viable site, then (and) only then will the city of Hamilton be willing to explore other sites of interest.”

The compromise motion has the support of the majority of councillors.

“I think in the context of division looking for unanimity on such a divisive issue, this is the best we can do that will satisfy both sides,” said Councillor Terry Whitehead, adding Merulla’s motion wouldn’t have passed without the amendment. “Everyone’s agreed.”

But Councillor Brian McHattie says he’s not sure if he can support it.

“I much preferred just the straightforward motion that he had just to identify Flamboro, period,” McHattie said. “It’s not where I wanted to be and where a lot of folks wanted to be — with no consideration of the downtown now or even in the future.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)