Future of Ajax Downs in hands of Doug Ford’s incoming PC government
After doing everything in its power to keep the town’s casino and horse track, Ajax is down to its last move. Legal action didn’t work, so now Mayor Steve Parish is turning to the incoming PC government to make good on an election promise. Having both Ajax Downs and Durham Live operational could be the best solution.
The Town of Ajax is running out of options when it comes to keeping Ajax Downs where it is. A divisional court denied its appeal Tuesday, giving the green light to the Durham Live development in Pickering.
“We’re disappointed in that result but we respect that result,” said Steve Parish, mayor of Ajax. “We had due process and the court ruled and that’s the way it is.”
Mayor Parish hopes Premier-Designate Doug Ford and incoming MPP Rod Phillips will step in. Both promised to try and keep Ajax Downs open, as well as look into Great Canadian Gaming being awarded operation rights to Durham Live.
Parish spoke with Phillips about where they go from here.
“He knows that if the first thing he does is not deliver on the casino that’s a bad way to start,” Parish said. “But he also knows that if he can deliver a solution on the casino, that’s a great way for him to start, and sets him up as a person who gets things done and keeps his promises.”
If the PC government doesn’t step in, Parish says it will be the end for Ajax Downs. According to zoning laws, there can only be one casino in the Pickering, Ajax and Whitby area.
“I think the government-elect’s commitment to a two-site solution mirrors the political reality, where the government has a caucus member from Pickering-Uxbridge riding and a caucus member from the Ajax riding,” said Parish. “Of course the two-site solution would accommodate the political needs of both of those MPPs.”
Tuesday’s divisional court decision allows Pickering to now move forward.
“[It’s] very, very unfortunate that millions of dollars were literally spent, and I think frivolously and vexatiously to frustrate a project that will be a good project for all of Durham Region,” said Dave Ryan, Pickering mayor.
Pickering hopes to get shovels in the ground soon, as Great Canadian Gaming wants to see Durham Live operational by the end of 2019.
The mega-casino is expected to employ 2,000 people, with the total build to generate ten thousand jobs, mostly going to people living in the Durham Region.
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