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Politics

Future of Ajax Downs glaring issue for community on Election Day

The Town of Ajax has a list of concerns they want addressed by the new government with Ajax Downs being the number one priority.
The Town of Ajax has a list of concerns they want addressed by the new government with Ajax Downs being the number one priority. Aaron Streck/ Global News

By the time most of us go to bed tonight, we will know who will be leading Ontario for the next four years. After feeling neglected by the Liberals, the Town of Ajax is looking to get help with a number of issues from a new government. There continues to be one glaring concern – Ajax Downs.

“I’m hoping for change, I think it will be good for the Town of Ajax and really good for the province of Ontario,” said Shaun Collier, Ajax councillor and deputy mayor.

It’s no secret Ajax deputy mayor Shaun Collier and company are looking to keep Ajax Downs right where it is. They felt railroaded in the decision for the casino to be replaced by Durham Live in Pickering, a result of Ontario Lottery Gaming Corp. rules that allow only one casino to exist in the area. It is alleged a backdoor deal led to the decision.

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READ MORE: Ontario election 2018: Ajax riding

“We’ve had a really strong media campaign to raise awareness, we’ve written a lot of letters to the Minister and I think we’ve been really successful. So we’ve now got the leadership candidate for the PC’s, Doug Ford, saying that if elected he will have a full open view of Canadian gaming, we believe there were some deals made behind the scenes,” said Collier.

Andrea Horwath said this week that the NDP would conduct an investigation into the alleged backroom dealing. Collier says the timing of the election works out well.

“We’re able to bring it to light fully, we’re able to educate people on what’s been happening as we find out and really move our Ajax issues forward,” said Collier.

Another issue plaguing Ajax is the waterfront, Collier points to the Dufferin Sewage Treatment Plant and the two million dollars spent confirming the algae problem.

“That sewage treatment plant services 80 per cent York Region and only 20 per cent Durham Region, so we’re actually taking York Region’s waste and it’s causing problems on our waterfronts, we’ve got seven kilometers of publically owned green space and we’ve invested a lot of money in this and it’s spoiling the use of this for a lot of Ajax residents,” said Collier.

READ MORE: Steve Parish, long-time mayor of Ajax, won’t be seeking re-election

A piece of land in Carruthers, outside the Greenbelt called the Whitebelt, is another area Ajax is also pushing hard for.

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“If those head waters are developed it could cause significant flooding for south Ajax families and there’s about 500 homes in that flood plane,” said Collier.

Now these aren’t the only issues local government want dealt with. The removal of tolls for Highway 412 and changes to transit are also front and centre. Collier is hopeful the new premier will be willing to work with them in addressing these concerns and will hold true to the promises that were made.