North Bay’s casino venue and its potential location were able to stir the pot over the last few weeks, as it has the potential to threaten the natural habitat of the Blanding’s turtle. One of the proposed locations on Pinewood Park Drive could negatively impact the existing population of turtles, but Gateway Casinos and Entertainment claimed this is not going to happen, as the location will be pinpointed with care.
Up until now, debates surrounding the casino venue operation in North Bay have involved mainly the City Council and members of the community, as both sides have something to say about one of the proposed sites. Save the Turtle, Stop the Casino is a group of people that first raised awareness of the endangered species habitat in the region of Pinewood Park Drive. A casino venue construction in that area is projected to have a devastating impact on the existing population of smiling turtles, as they are commonly referred to.
Casino Operator Would Seek Mitigation Measures
Now the casino operator issued a special statement making it clear that future operation in North Bay is going to take into account all concerns of the local organizations and make sure that no turtles are harmed as a result of the operation. For the time being Gateway Casinos has not announced its final decision on the parcel of land that would welcome gambling operation.
Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the company made it clear that the community has nothing to be concerned of. Rob Mitchell stated that the news about Blanding’s turtle’s natural habitat has reached Gateway Casinos and the casino operator has researched the issue. He stated that together with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry the gambling giant would strive to come up with the most suitable solution. If the casino venue ends up being built in the Pinewood Park Drive area special measures will have to be taken.
This scenario would include the purchase of the said parcel of land but what should be taken into account is that the casino operator is willing to collaborate with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Together they would come up with the most suitable approach and mitigation measures. It is known that the area is part of the LaVase River and Cook Creek wetland complex and as such it provides the conditions mandatory for the turtle habitat.
Official Casino Location Is Yet to Be Announced
According to previously issued plans that casino project is going to span over some 37,000 square feet of land, as it is also going to feature a parking lot providing all casino patrons with enough spots. The casino development is not the first attempt at building in this area, but ironically enough it is the first unsuccessful one. Back in 2013, Tim Hortons began operation in North Bay namely in this region without any controversy getting in the way.
It could be recalled that soon after the environmentalists’ organization claimed they oppose casino venue construction on Pinewood Park Drive, City Councilor Mac Bain claimed that this prevents North Bay from developing and attracting more individuals to its entertainment offerings.
Councilors voted 8-2 in support of the motion that would see the town propose the area to be excluded from the Endangered Species Act. Upcoming weeks are projected to see more development on the case, as well as more information on the official casino venue address.