September 6, 2017 6:17 pm
Updated: September 6, 2017 6:21 pm

Construction on Peterborough casino begins

Watch above: Casino advocates, officials and environmentalists weigh in as construction on the multi-million project gets underway.

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The company behind Peterborough’s casino hopes to have doors on the multimillion-dollar venture open by late 2018.

Officials with Great Canadian Gaming were in the city Wednesday morning for a ground-breaking ceremony at the Crawford Drive site.

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“This is creating 150 new jobs on top of the roughly 150 that will be coming over from our Shorelines Operation currently located at Kawartha Downs,” said Chuck Keeling, the company’s vice-president of stakeholder relations.

READ MORE: Gateway plans major casino property in London after reaching deal with OLG

But as officials celebrated the construction milestone, the Peterborough Field Naturalists made a grim discovery.

Kim Zippel says a snapping turtle was found crushed on Harper Road.

“It’s emblematic of the encroachment on our wetlands,” Zippel said.

The Peterborough Field Naturalists have been critical of the casino, arguing that the project is a bad fit for the protected area and puts species like snapping turtles at risk.

The group says it’s always open to sharing its information with the city, but Zippel says the city prefers to go with consultants.

Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett has been at the forefront of the push to bring the casino from Kawartha Downs in Cavan Monaghan Township to the city.

“These are good paying jobs with benefits that are new to the community, it gives people in the community something else to look forward to as far as entertainment goes, there are a whole bunch of spin offs that are good for us,” Bennett said after Wednesday’s ceremony.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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